Research Roundup: Interfaith marriage, church names, and how pro-life are we now?

Meredith Flynn —  June 9, 2015

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

‘Unequally yoked’ couples may be more common in 21st century
Most married people–almost 70%–still share the same faith, Pew Research reports in its Religious Landscape Study. But the last few decades have seen an increase in interfaith marriages. 39% of those who have gotten married since 2010 have married someone of another faith–or no faith at all. 18% of the interfaith marriages since 2010 are between a Christian and someone not affiliated with a religion.

The_BriefingOf people who got married prior to 1960 (and are still married), only 19% are interfaith marriages. But Pew is careful to note the rise in interfaith marriages “may not be as pronounced as it appears,” if in fact marriages between people of the same religious group are more likely to last. Because the study only measures intact marriages, it’s possible that there were more interfaith unions prior to 1960 that ended in divorce.

What’s in a (church) name?
The presence of a denomination in a church’s name doesn’t necessarily deter even non-religious people, LifeWay Research reports. In a new survey, Americans were asked to respond to several denominations based on the statement, “When I see a church named the following, I assume it is not for me.” Pentecostal had the highest percentage of yes responses, with 45%, followed by Catholic (42%) and Lutheran (41%). Southern Baptist fell toward the end of the list, with 39%, and Baptist came in last (or first?) with only 36% of respondents saying they assume Baptist churches aren’t for them when they see the label.

Pro-choice views outgaining pro-life position
For the first time since 2008, pro-choice “has a statistically significant lead in Americans’ abortion views,” over pro-life views, Gallup reports. 50% of Americans now say they are pro-choice, compared to 44% who identify as pro-life.

One more poll: Measuring presidents’ popularity
CNN/ORC reports more Americans think favorably about former President George W. Bush (52%) than do current President Barack Obama (45%). Besting them both: Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who both have a 64% approval rating.

Campolo announces new view on same-sex marriage
Christian author and speaker Tony Campolo said via a statement on his website June 8 that he is “finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.” Campolo, author of many books including 2012’s “Red Letter Revolution,” said his decision was influenced by same-sex couples he and his wife have come to know “whose relationships work in much the same way as our own.”

Seminary President films video for ‘Openly Secular’ website
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin appears in a new video on the website of Openly Secular, an organization dedicated to eliminate discrimination against atheists, agnostics, and other non-religious people. We disagree on some very important issues, Akin says in the video, but we also agree on some important things, like that no one should be coerced when it comes to their religious beliefs.

Akin told Christianity Today, “I’m not going to endorse the organization [Openly Secular], but I’m happy to do a video as an evangelical who believes we all have the right to religious liberty. That’s all I endorsed.”

New movie tells how ‘Purpose Driven Life’ helped resolve hostage situation
A film scheduled for release this fall will tell the true story of Ashley Smith, an Atlanta woman who read Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” to a man holding her hostage in her home. Smith’s captor, Brian Nichols, eventually surrendered to authorities. “Captive” stars Kata Mara as Smith and David Oyelowo, who recently played Martin Luther King, Jr., in the film “Selma,” as Nichols.

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.