Recent headlines about a recent poll claiming less than half of evangelicals identify as "pro-life" are to be taken with a grain of salt, says a leading evangelical.
The headline in The Christian Post last week read: "Less than half of U.S. evangelicals identify as 'pro-life.''' It's about a poll conducted by the pro-life group Save the Storks, an organization that helps provide abortion-minded women with free ultrasounds.
The poll found that 47 percent of evangelicals say they're pro-life. But Dr. Richard Land of Southern Evangelical Seminary in North Carolina offers a cautionary note.
"When you read the story, it's much more complex than that," he begins. "And the poll is skewed from the beginning by the fact that it is 'self-identified' evangelicals [who were polled] – somebody who may never go to church, may go to church on Christmas and Easter, who was raised in a Baptist home [and] calls themselves evangelical, for instance."
Further examination of the poll reveals that the numbers are different when respondents were asked if they believe abortion should be legal or illegal in all or most cases.
"If you take the number of evangelicals in this poll – 'self-identified' evangelicals – who say that they think that abortion should never take place, and those who think that it should only take place in very limited circumstances – 25 percent and 33 percent [respectively] – that's 58 percent," Land points out.
In contrast to what the poll implies, the seminary president is especially optimistic about the younger generations, which he describes as having the mindset of "We survived Roe, Roe won't survive us."
"All of the Millennials and all of Generation Z, they've all grown up with their siblings' sonograms on the refrigerator," Land shares. "The argument for abortion is long and it's complex. [In contrast,] the argument against abortion doesn't take any words: just a picture."
The president of Save the Storks told The Christian Post his group is hopeful the survey is the "beginning of an honest dialogue among Christians" as well as an impetus to "work harder to equip the next generation of Christians to have a more life-affirming ethic on the issue."