A new study has found that Americans are divided over whether religious freedom or sexual freedom is more important in situations in which the two clash.
The study was conducted by Nashville-based LifeWay Research and surveyed 1,000 Americans. According to a press release from LifeWay, the study found that, in a situation in which sexual and religious freedom conflict, 48 percent of Americans believe religious freedom should win out, 24 percent believe sexual freedom should win out, and 28 percent are unsure.
These statistics can be seen being played out in many culturally relevant ways; for example, in the constant debate regarding same-sex marriage and whether owners of businesses should be able to refuse services for same-sex wedding ceremonies based on their religious beliefs, or in the debate over whether transgender individuals should be able to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender with which they identify.
Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, summed up the study’s findings: “It’s clear Americans value religious liberty. But when it comes to sex, they aren’t sure religion should have the final word. That’s especially true for younger Americans and those who aren’t religious.”
The study also found that a participant’s answer to whether religious or sexual freedom is more important depended on the person’s religious beliefs, demographics, and where in the country they live.Groups that tended to favor sexual freedom included men, those who live in the Northeast, Hispanic Americans, and those aged 18-44. Those who tended to favor religious freedom included Southerners, evangelicals, Protestants, African-Americans, and people 55 and older.