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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Survey: Most Religious People Don't Hate Gays

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 9:00 AM

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It's an oft-repeated message that religion and LGBT bashing go together like santorum and anal sex, but a new survey finds that is not the case, after all. 

According to a new national survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), titled "A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues," not only have attitudes changed drastically in favor of pro-LGBT rights, but religious bias has also been overstated. 

The religiously unaffiliated, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly support teh gheyz (73 percent), but so do majorities of Jewish Americans (83 percent), white mainline Protestants (62 percent), white Catholics (58 percent) and even Hispanic Catholics (56 percent) currently support same-sex marriage.

While a (sometimes slim) majority of religious folks tend to support LGBT issues, regular churchgoers (those who attend at least once or twice a month), still think that they are in the minority, and that their church takes the opposite viewpoint on things like same-sex marriage. From the findings:

  • About 6-in-10 (59 percent) white mainline Protestants believe their fellow congregants are mostly opposed to same-sex marriage. However, among white mainline Protestants who attend church regularly, only 36 percent oppose allowing gay and lesbian people to legally marry while a majority (57 percent) actually favor this policy.
  • Roughly three-quarters (73 percent) of Catholics believe that most of their fellow congregants are opposed to same-sex marriage. However, Catholics who regularly attend church are in fact divided on the issue (50 percent favor, 45 percent oppose).

Contributing to the misconception that religion takes an anti-gay stance is the mainstream media, which, you've probably noticed, tends to favor evangelical talking heads who think Girl Scout cookies turn people into lesbian witches, among other ridiculous rhetoric. The media ignores more moderate religious viewpoints, pro-LGBT people of faith, and even atheists, who represent 16 percent of Americans, but get less than 1 percent of air time, according to a study by GLAAD and the University of Missouri Center on Religion & the Professions.

This kind of fabricated "religion vs gays" polarizing is having a negative effect, says PRRI CEO Dr. Robert P. Jones. Particularly on the younger generations.

"Nearly one-third of Millennials who left their childhood religion say unfavorable church teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people played a significant role in their decision to head for the exit."

Almost 33 percent! That's a pretty staggering number when one considers all the other reasons a millennial might stop going to church, such as hypocrisy, political grandstanding, and, lesbihonest, that it interferes too much with Sunday brunch plans.

Follow @annapulley on Twitter. She'll tweet you right.


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Anna Pulley

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