In spite of a move away from organized religion in much of the country, Tennessee is still firmly evangelical Christian, according to a recent MTSU poll. And that faith shapes the way the state leans on hot-button issues, the finds show.

The “scientifically-valid” poll was conducted last month and surveyed 600 randomly-selected Tennessee adults, the school’s pollsters said of the twice-annual questionnaire.

While the poll didn’t ask if people were simply Christian, 68 percent of those polled did identify themselves as “evangelical” Christians. Twenty-six percent of respondents said they weren’t evangelicals, while the rest said they didn’t know.

The pollsters then questioned the respondents about a slew of today’s biggest headline-grabbing issues.

  • A 64 percent majority of state residents oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. Only 26 percent were in favor.
  • Just 33 percent of Tennesseans support decriminalization of marijuana. Though, of the 57 percent that want it to remain banned, nearly two-thirds said it should be available by doctor’s prescription for medical purposes.
  • 83 percent said abortion should be illegal or legal only under certain circumstances, as opposed to 12 percent who say it should be “legal under any circumstances.”
  • 53 percent said they’d like to see the new federal healthcare law repealed or repealed and replaced, while just 24 percent would like to see it left alone or expanded.
  • 63 percent said they favor the sale of wine in grocery stores, while only 26 percent said they were opposed.
  • 52 percent of those polled favor “forbidding the enforcement of any federal-level firearm laws in Tennessee, leaving firearms regulated solely by state and local laws.”

The poll numbers are hardly surprising. Tennessee is a state that doesn’t change course based on whim or the direction political winds are blowing nationally.

So, while some of those issues may see other Americans swaying from long-held positions, we won’t see many state laws passed on the “moral” issues in our legislature.

The majority of Tennesseans are proud of their Christian faith. They’re not afraid to profess their beliefs publicly, and they vote to support what they believe.