Churches are losing a generation over poor treatment of LGBT people

A recent survey conducted by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that over the past ten years the number of Americans with no religious affiliations has more than doubled. The survey showed 10 percent of older Americans have no religious affiliation. That number jumps to 32 percent among millennials, who are people born in 1980 onward. The survey goes on to show that millennials are leaving their churches because of hurtful treatment of the LGBT community.

Among Millennials who no longer identify with their childhood religion, nearly one-third say negative teachings about, or treatment of, gay and lesbian people was either a somewhat important (17 percent) or very important (14 percent) factor in their disaffiliation from religion. In contrast, fewer than 1-in-5 Baby Boomers (19 percent) and Silent Generation Americans (17 percent) who have disaffiliated report that this was a somewhat or very important reason for their leaving.

Moreover, the implications of religious institutions’ ideologies about, and treatment of, gay and lesbian people are viewed similarly by Millennials and Americans overall. Most Americans agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.

Church membership or affiliation is down, regardless of the denomination. If religious institutions continue to ignore, or in many cases mistreat, LGBT people, our churches will be empty. Religion should join people together not divide them. We are all created in God's image and that includes LGBT people. Our young people of today are the elders of our tomorrow. Religious institutions need to listen to the young voices of today because they are the generation that will make up our churches. Or not.

Public Religion Research Institute has the full story.