Crossed Out: Just 17 percent of U.S. congregations report out gay parishioners

Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors. So few gay people.

Just 17 percent of religious congregations in the United States report having openly gay or lesbian worshippers, according to a report previewed this week.

The National Congregations Study will be released later this year, but the initial findings suggest that while there is improvement among religious congregations, it’s happening at a glacial pace.

The study examined 1,331 congregations nationwide and found that only 27 percent of congregations allow gays and lesbians to hold volunteer leadership positions. Less than half – 48 percent – said gays and lesbians in committed relationships can be fully fledged members. This represents a 10 percent increase from 2007 when the study was last conducted.

“Diversity is increasing even in our everyday lives,” said Mark Chaves, director of the study. “I think it’s good news.”

In June, Pew Research Center released a study that focused on changing attitudes about homosexuality. The study found that LGBT Americans say the Muslim religion, Mormon Church, Catholic Church and Evangelical churches are unfriendly to the LGBT community (84, 83, 79 and 73 percent, respectively). Respondents had mixed views of Judaism and mainline Protestant churches.

The study also found that LGBT adults are more than twice as likely than the public at large to have no religious affiliation – 48 percent versus 20 percent. One third reported a conflict between their religious beliefs and their LGBT lifestyle, and 29 percent reported feeling unwelcome in a house of worship.

[Photo by Drama Queen via Wikimedia Commons.]

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