GLAAD Media Reference Guide - In Focus: Religion & Faith
GLAAD's Media Reference Guide: A Resource for Journalists, Updated May 2010
A common myth about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality is that it is universally opposed by people of faith. This myth, combined with vitriolic opposition to LGBT people and families by several high-profile fundamentalist leaders, frequently leads to media coverage that falsely positions LGBT equality and inclusion as a matter of "gays vs. religion."
Leading Christian denominations are home to robust debate about LGBT issues and equality. The United Methodist Church, the U.S. Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and others continue to openly debate issues of LGBT inclusion, the blessing of same-sex couples' unions and the ordination of gay clergy, with growing support for full inclusion.
Fundamentalist leaders are often given media attention disproportionate to cultural embrace of their views. Anti-gay activists like Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps, as well as groups like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, and the Institute on Religion & Democracy, often claim to represent the views of religious Americans. Yet these groups' policy views are not shared by the vast majorities who favor inclusive non-discrimination laws, military service, inclusive hate crimes laws, and family recognition (whether by marriage or civil unions) for LGBT Americans (see IN FOCUS: Public Opinion & Polling).
Please consider whether fundamentalists' attacks on the dignity and equality of LGBT people warrant a media spotlight. When such prejudice is newsworthy or must be quoted, please seek out voices who can effectively address those attacks in the language of inclusive faith.
LGBT people of faith are rarely represented in mainstream media. Groups like Dignity/USA (LGBT Catholics), Integrity (LGBT Episcopalians), Reconciling Ministries Network (LGBT Methodists) and More Light Presbyterians represent affinity groups within some of the nation's largest Christian denominations. The Episcopal Chuch, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association and Unity Fellowship Church Movement welcome LGBT people and gay clergy. The Metropolitan Community Church is the world's largest LGBT denomination, and churches, synagogues and other houses of worship around the country serve LGBT people of faith.
When reporting on religion and LGBT equality, please include the voices of LGBT faith leaders. In addition to the groups mentioned above, GLAAD, the Institute for Welcoming Resources, the National Black Justice Coalition, the Human Rights Campaign, the World Congress of GLBT Jews, and others can help direct reporters to qualified spokespeople.
Media Reference Guide Home | Introduction: Fair, Accurate & Inclusive | Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual | Transgender | Offensive Terms To Avoid | Defamatory Language | AP, New York Times & Washington Post Style | Marriage | Civil Unions & Domestic Partnerships Adoption & Parenting | Public Opinion & Polls | Religion & Faith | Covering Crime Stories | Hate Crimes | HIV, AIDS & The LGBT Community | "Ex-Gays" & "Conversion Therapy" | Sports & Homophobia | Directory Of Community Resources | Appendix | GLAAD Contacts