January 25, 2013 Print
Friday 5 Clint Jenkin

Friday 5: Clint Jenkin (Part 1 of 2)

by Bethany Monk

Delving into research and making sense of what could be an overwhelming amount of fascinating data is nothing new to Clint Jenkin.

As the senior research director at Barna Group, Jenkin handles custom research and polls. The group, located in Ventura, Calif., is a research and resource company that studies the intersection of faith and culture.

Jenkin has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Clearwater Christian College and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of New Hampshire. During his graduate studies, he did an internship at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center. After earning his doctorate in 2006, Jenkin worked for six years in strategic research with Focus on the Family. He began working for Barna Group in July.

Earlier this month, the group released the study “Most Americans are Concerned About Restriction in Religious Freedom,” conducted in partnership with Clapham Group. The report shows that millions of adults are concerned about their religious freedom and believe threats to this foundational liberty will only get worse. Jenkin spoke with CitizenLink this week about the data related to Millennials. In next week’s Friday 5, Jenkin will talk about the study and its results as it pertains to other generations.

CitizenLink: Would you talk a little bit about the interviews and how you conducted this study?

Clint Jenkin: This was one of our nationwide polls. About two or three times a year we do a poll of just the general U.S. adults, and we call about a thousand people on the phone. We always end up with a few extra people, so in this poll there were 1,008. But we always call at least a thousand adults.

CL: The study reveals that only 26 percent of Millennials believe traditional Judeo-Christian values should be given preference in the U.S. Why do you think that is?

CJ: We found that Millennials have a much more inclusive worldview, and it’s actually probably more of a secular world view. But it’s definitely a much more inclusive worldview. It’s probably not that they’re less aware and that they don’t see things happening; it’s that when they see them, the same red flags don’t go off for them because they may see this as a good thing. 

CL: Why do you think Millennials are more likely to support having an inclusive society?    

CJ: I think Millennials know more people. They grew up meeting people from all over the world and from all different walks of life. They’ve been exposed much more during their formative years to people with wildly different worldviews — much more so than you’d see among Baby Boomers or even Gen-Xers, who kind of grew up in a more localized culture.

CL: Would you attribute some or most of this to the way technology has changed the way we  communicate?

CJ: Millennials have things like social media and TV programming — things that allow them to make connections with a wider variety of people much earlier in life. They tend to have fewer boundaries around what’s appropriate versus what’s not appropriate. For any boundary you can draw, they knows somebody — or know somebody who know somebody — who would cross that boundary.

CL: Why might they not want to cross that boundary?

CJ: They don’t want to be “judgmental” of that person.  So whether it’s homosexuality, drug use, or pirating, whatever the things are that an older generation might look at and say, “Well, that is a problem.” Millennials know somebody who’s involved in it. That personal connection makes it harder for them to say: “That’s wrong and it shouldn’t happen that way.”

Read the Barna report.

Learn more about Barna Group.

Learn more about Clapham Group.