10/15/2007 - Like most evangelical Christians, Alessandra Gonzalez tends to be conservative and Republican in her politics.
But for the 25-year-old and her peers, that means different things than it does for their elders.
For many conservative evangelical Christians younger than 30, family values mean more than the issues of gay marriage, abortion and prayer in school. Poverty, health care and the environment are also matters of faith.
Evangelical Protestants have been one of the most faithful Republican voting blocs in recent presidential elections, but there are abundant signs the movement is fracturing as the 2008 contest approaches. The younger generation in particular is less wedded to the GOP and to the moral-values agenda espoused by an influential corps of Christian conservative leaders.
"The fact that these younger evangelicals have somewhat more diverse views than their elders means there's a possible change in their political behavior," said John Green of the Pew Research Center, who has long studied how religion affects voting habits.
"There might be an opening for more moderate Republicans in the Republican primaries among these voters," he said. "And there might be an opening among Democrats among some of these folks."
Two years ago, 55 percent of evangelicals younger than 30 called themselves Republicans. Now, just 40 percent do, according to a recent Pew survey.
Read the full article In Evangelical Politics, A Generation Gap on the Dallas Morning News Web site.