It is a fact that the most fervent concentration of anti-LGBT extremists are much older than the general population, but Eric Ethington spent time talking to some of the young people he found at the Values Voter Summit. While it’s true that the great majority of people under thirty support equality, Eric found that Religious Right organizations are working overtime to try to replace their older donor bases with new, fresh blood, trained in their talking points:
Will things be easier once people like Tim Dolan, Bryan Fischer, Boyd K. Packer and others pass away eventually? Sure. But there’s a whole new young crop of arch-conservatives who are being trained to take their place.
“I don’t think homosexuality is natural, one of my best friends is a gay and he says he was abused by his step-dad when he was really little. I think that’s probably the case for most people who think they’re gay,” says Sarah, a 17 year old from Oregon who is attending the Values Voters Summit with her church group.
I also ran into Ian Ferth, a 19 year old who describes himself as a “Warrior for God” from Atlanta. “I just don’t see why someone would want to defy God like that [referring to gay people],” says Ferth. “God created us all equal, and that means we were all born in the natural order of things. It’s sad that some of these guys choose to oppose God and I want to attend theological school so I can preach to the world and show [gays] why they should repent.”
Eric also said that “easily 30 percent of the audience [for the VVS] appears to be younger than 35.” His takeaway is that, though things will certainly be easier for LGBT people in the coming years, the passing of the older generations does not mean anti-gay sentiment will disappear, not by a longshot.