Pew Study Shows LGB Church Attendance on the Rise as Overall Numbers Drop

by EDGE

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday May 14, 2015

While news of a drop in the faithful and rise of agnosticism among Americans have dominated the headlines in news reporting a recent Pew Research Center study on religion, one statistic from the poll has largely gone un-noted. While overall numbers have dropped, the number of LGB Christians is on the rise.

As reported by Associated Press this week, between 2007 and 2014, when Pew conducted two major surveys of U.S. religious life, Americans who described themselves as atheist, agnostic or of no particular faith grew from 16 percent to nearly 23 percent. At the same time, Christians dropped from about 78 percent to just under 71 percent of the population.

Conversely, the Advocate points to a statistic in the same study that shows a 6 percent jump in self-identifying Christians among lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) respondents. 48 percent of LGB Americans identify as Christian, up from 42 percent in 2013.

The Advocate points to a section of the Pew study that noted that "Among respondents who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, fully 41% are religiously unaffiliated, and fewer than half (48%) describe themselves as Christians." Moreover, "Non-Christian faiths also are represented in the gay community at higher rates than among the general public, with 11% of gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents identifying with faiths other than Christianity."

While the Pew study doesn't offer any reasons for the overall drop in religious Americans, theories over the LGBT factor come into play.The Friendly Atheist notes that the acceptance of LGBT churchgoers in some mainstream Protestant faiths (and corresponding anti-gay religious bigotry) may have been part of the impetus that has led Americans away from faith.