Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Disaffiliation of Gays and Religion

Few factors account more for the abuse, discrimination and often outright persecution faced by LGBT individuals than religion.  Indeed, if one is gay, it is easy to come to see religion - certainly the fundamentalist forms - as nothing less than a toxic evil.  Hate, bigotry and the mistreatment of others seem to often be religion's principal hallmarks.  Thus, it is not surprising that gays are much less likely to claim a religious affiliation than the general public even though the trend for the under 30 demographic is to be far more rejecting of religion than older demographic groups.  Here are some findings from the Pew Research Center:

Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender adults are, on the whole, less religious than the general public. About half (48%) say they have no religious affiliation, compared with 20% in the general public; this pattern holds among all age groups. LGBT adults who do have a religious affiliation generally attend worship services less frequently and attach less importance to religion in their lives than do religiously affiliated adults in the general public.

Also, a third (33%) of religiously affiliated LGBT adults say there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and their sexual orientation or gender identity.

That sentiment is even more prevalent among the general public. About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (74%) and a majority of all U.S. adults with a religious affiliation (55%) say homosexuality conflicts with their religious beliefs.
The new Pew Research survey asked LGBT respondents to rate six religions or religious institutions as friendly, neutral or unfriendly toward the LGBT population. By overwhelming margins, most rate all six as more unfriendly than friendly. About eight-in-ten LGBT respondents say the Muslim religion, the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church are unfriendly toward them, while one-in-ten or fewer say each of these religious institutions is friendly toward them. Similarly, about three-quarters of LGBT adults (73%) say that evangelical churches are unfriendly toward them, . . .

I would argue that following the "godly Christian" crowd and seeing just how poisonous they are makes it increasingly difficult for me to desire any religious affiliation.  Indeed, one would need to be a masochist to remain affiliated with a religion that does nothing but denigrate you and bar you from equal legal rights.  Thankfully, the under 30 generation seems to be recognizing that religion - at least as practiced by a majority of denominations - is a net negative force in society.

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