Surveys Reveal More Social Justice Activism in LGBT Inclusive Churches

Last month, GLAAD reported on a survey by the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew College and Jewish Mosaic that revealed tremendous support of LGBT people by Jewish rabbis and synagogues. In recent press releases, the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing and the Institute for Welcoming Resources of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced two new surveys which assess the impact of LGBT inclusion on Christian congregations. The Survey of Religious Progressives published by the Religious Institute and To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations by Welcoming Resources reveal that congregations which are welcoming to LGBT people also promote further activism on a wide range of social justice issues. 
The Survey of Religious Progressives received 438 respondents and measured the attitudes and the extent to which clergy and congregations are engaged regarding LGBT inclusion. Sixty-nine percent of the survey respondents self-identify as "progressive" and more than half of the clergy reported that their views on LGBT issues have become more liberal over the last 10 years.      The survey also found that clergy in more inclusive denominations were more likely to march or take a public stance not only for LGBT issues but on a broad range of sexuality issues. To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations is based on responses from 325 clergy in Christian and Unitarian Universalist congregations. The survey refutes any concerns that inclusion of LGBT would create division and/or membership loss. It found that congregations which fully welcomed and engaged LGBT members are more likely to work on social justice issues.       Furthermore, nearly three-quarters of the respondents disagreed with the statement suggesting that their congregation risked losing members if it talked too much about homosexuality.

The Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources recently published a new resource, Building an Inclusive Church: A Welcoming Toolkit, to help congregations welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.  The Religious Institute plans to release a similar online guide for clergy in June. In another press release, The Task Force addressed inclusion in congregations by  partnering with Colage and The Family Equality Council to produce a curriculum called All in God's Family: Creating Allies for our LGBT Families; the first 50 orders are free.