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'There Are Basic Moral Rules': Young Evangelicals React To Supreme Court Marriage Ruling


Of course, not everyone is celebrating today. Thirty-nine percent of Americans oppose gay marriage according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, and support is particularly low among evangelicals. Sandy Hausman of member station WVTF and Radio IQ visited freshman orientation at Liberty University this past week and reports on students' reaction to the Supreme Court ruling.


SANDY HAUSMAN, BYLINE: From the moment you arrive at Liberty University, it's clear this is a religious school. Christian rock plays from speakers in the main parking lot and over cheeseburgers in the cafeteria. It's clear that students get strong guidance from the Bible with little room for historic interpretation. Taylor Thomas of Eastman, Ga., and Lauren Rentrop of Lynchburg, Va., did not approve of the Supreme Court's ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry.

TAYLOR THOMAS: I know the Lord gave us free will. And I know being in a secular world, everyone has their own opinions and has their own thoughts, but the Bible says, you know, you can't be in a lifestyle of sin, which is how I see it.

LAUREN RENTROP: Gay marriage, I believe, is never OK, and it doesn't matter if you're Christian or not. There are basic moral rules.

HAUSMAN: Bridgeport, Conn., native Emmanuel Chery said he was not surprised by the ruling.

EMMANUEL CHERY: I expected nothing less from the Supreme Court because they did the same thing with Roe v. Wade and many other cases that were biblically immoral.

HAUSMAN: Some, like Matthew Hidalgo of Monroe, Conn., expressed fear.

MATTHEW HIDALGO: I'm just worried about things in the future, like Christian churches being forced to perform gay marriages and things like that.

HAUSMAN: And Cher rejected studies that suggest homosexuality may be rooted in biology or genetics. An African-American, he says gay marriage is not a civil right.

CHERY: I see civil rights as something that you absolutely cannot change. For example, you can't change your race. And I see no particular evidence for homosexuality being a civil right as it is something that you choose.

HAUSMAN: But for Jocelyn Huelsman of Dayton, Ohio, and a classmate who asked that we not use his name, agreed that good Christians should not attack gay couples.

JOCELYN HUELSMAN: If we react, like, harshly to them, it's not going to make them want to come to know the Lord. It's going to push them away.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It breaks my heart, but, you know, as Jesus said, we're still called to love.

HAUSMAN: Many of these students were on campus with their parents. Most are 17 or 18 years old, and one left the door open for a change of heart. We're young, he said, we haven't lived very long and may need to think a little bit more. For NPR News, I'm Sandy Hausman in Lynchburg, Va. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago. Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association.
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