A newly released Pew Research Center report shows that more lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) Americans identify as Christian than ever before.
According to the report, nearly half identify of LGB Americans identify as Christian.
These findings are particularly important in light of recent reports that Christianity in the United States is facing a sharp decline as fewer Americans than ever before consider themselves religious. Moreover, the report poses a serious challenge to those in the Christian right who contend that Christian faith and LGBT identity are inherently in conflict.
The survey found 48 percent of LGB Americans identify as Christian, up from 42 percent in 2013.The most significant change was among white evangelical Protestants, with 13 percent of LGB people identifying with the evangelical faith tradition, in contrast to only 6 percent in 2013.
Two years ago, more than seven-in-ten, or 73 percent of LGBT people, said that evangelical churches were unfriendly toward them. As a growing number of evangelicals draw on their values of love and compassion and take a public stance on equality, LGBT evangelicals are finding it easier to remain a part of the spiritual traditions in which they were raised, or find welcoming congregations with similar traditions.
While many people enjoy a rich, spiritual life outside of the realm of organized religion, another surprising finding in the report was a decrease in religious unaffiliation. In 2003, nearly half of LGBT people, 48 percent, claimed no religion. Despite broader trends toward secularization, that figure has dropped to 41 percent, but it is still nearly twice as high compared to 22 percent of non-LGBT people.
The study also found that 11 percent of LGB respondents identified as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist Hindu and other world faiths in higher rates than among the general public.
For those who are exploring a new spiritual home, thinking about reconnecting to a religious tradition or to live more fully within it, please read our Faith Positions on LGBT Equality and our guide, Coming Home: To Faith, To Spirit, to Self.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Religion and Faith Program is working to create a world where nobody is forced to choose between who they are, whom they love and what they believe. Learn more at hrc.org/religion.