Survey: 2/3 of People Believe Churches Facilitate Gay Suicides

A new survey of 1,017 Americans reveals that a majority believe that anti-gay messages spread by churches contribute to the disproportionate amount of LGBT suicides among the nation's youth:

Wasilla-bible-church "Two out of three Americans believe gay people commit suicide at least partly because of messages coming out of churches and other places of worship, a survey released Thursday found. More than four out of 10 Americans say the message coming out of churches about gay people is negative, and about the same number say those messages contribute "a lot" to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people. Catholics were the most critical of their own churches' messages on homosexuality, while white evangelical Christians gave their churches the highest grades, the survey found…

…Only five out of 100 people gave churches generally an A for their handling of "the issue of homosexuality" in the Public Religion Research Institute survey, while 28 percent said their own church handled it well. One in three people said that messages from places of worship contribute "a lot" to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth. Another one in three said they contribute "a little." Only one in five said they do not contribute at all. The rest said they did not know. Americans were equally split on whether homosexual relationships between adults are wrong, with 44 percent saying yes and 46 percent saying no.

The survey has an error margin of plus/minus 3 percentage points.


  1. says

    I think we need to be very careful not to paint all Christians and other people of faith as anti-gay. I believe that there are many religious people who support us, even while being socially conservative on other matters. However, this poll is a clear indication of the social and political dynamics that are hurting LGBT kids.

  2. ravewulf says

    The first statistic is good, but the others are a bit troubling. It would be nice to see a much larger study done to get more accurate results.

    Anyway, I am proud of the church my parents go to (a UCC church; I however am an atheist). The UCC has a long history of supporting LGBT people and issues (remember those ads from ages ago?)

  3. Darlinkula says

    The majority of religious folk will never tolerate gays because their beliefs go against who we are. The church members who do tolerate gays and sit silent about the churches homophobic agenda are like the Germans who turned a blind eye to the holocaust. By the way, most people don’t realize that German old & handicapped citizens were murdered along with everyone else that they deemed as unacceptable.

  4. tooboot says

    Right, like the Christians have been so careful in their distortions of the teachings of Christ. Is that the kind of careful you are talking about? How about all the ones you claim to not be homophobic come to our defense and take action against their religious counterparts in the name of their religion? Until then, I reserve the right to generalize all Christians as bigots.

  5. TANK says

    Here we go with the defenders of the meme. They are like zombies…under the sway of a disease that uses their bodies like sheilds in an attempt to spread itself.

    A minority of christians are gay friendly…a minority. If it were a loud vocal minority of antigay christians, then the majority would easily be able to stand up to them…considering that they aren’t threatening death to those who disagree with them…this suggests that antigay christians are not a minority. And to those who are christian and try to defend it by invoking that minority, how many bad peanuts do you have to consume before you conclude that the jar’s bad? Just about all of them, apparently…which indicates that it’s about the meme, and not your concern for gay rights, zombies.

  6. Absolvo Te says

    Don’t forget, we’re talking about a survey of really stupid people. People who believe that a priest can wave his hand in the air and mutter some oath to forgive sins. People who believe that a priest has magical powers to bring down the body and blood of Christ on an altar, even though it still looks like a wafer and wine. And if you don’t agree then you are not really Catholic. Because belief in transsubstantiation is REQUIRED to be Catholic. See what I mean?

    Who cares what they think, about anything.

  7. BobN says

    “I think we need to be very careful not to paint all Christians and other people of faith as anti-gay.”

    I think it’s far more important that we make everyone realize that religion — and Christianity and Islam in particular — are fundamentally (ahem) susceptible to intolerance.

    Not ALL Christians are intolerant NOW. But for centuries they ALL were. And they spread their poison over the entire globe.

  8. ratbastard says

    Catholics are the most critical of their churches teachings.

    Evangelical Protestants the least critical of their churches teachings.

    ….Hmmm…that goes away in explaining why it’s easier to get gay rights legislation and laws passed in some places opposed to others, in America. The populated parts of New England are among the most Catholic regions of America, yet also the most self professed non-religious and gay friendly, at least as far as gay civil rights laws. I’ve seen other surveys that show Catholics in general hold more liberal views than Protestants, they’re even more pro-abortion than Protestants which surprised me. I guess this extends to gay issues also. But I would caution this probably only applies to American born and raised Catholics. Latino/Hispanic Catholics from Latin America are very conservative.

    And 44% believe gay relations between adults is ‘bad’? *Sigh*

  9. Hank says

    The headline statistic looks encouraging. But read on, and it says 44% of the same sample said homosexual relations between adults are wrong ( and only 46% said homo is not wrong)- which means some of those “2/3″ ( probably at least 11% overall, with another 10% noncommittal ) are in FAVOR of the very church teachings that they themselves view as contributing to LGBT suicides. So probably one in five respondents are saying yes, the fact we either hate gay people, or are not really sure whether we hate them or not, contributes to their suicide, and that’s OK with us.

  10. justaguy says

    Darlinkula – never say never. Hope alone is not enough, but it’s got to be in the mix to get the job done.

    Hank – ur dead on, brotha. What’s with the 44% number. How F’ed up!! Why are they not sure if it’s wrong?!! WTF.

    The 44% number tells me this whole problem is WAY bigger than religion.

  11. joebloe says

    Too many Americans still believe “Might Makes Right”. It’s the meek that’ll inherit the earth, goddamnit! Margaret Cho said, “When Jesus returns, he’s gonna look around and scream, THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!”

  12. Gabe R L says

    Blaming religion for homophobia, while not entirely unfair, is still misguided. There are plenty of people, especially men, who are not religious and may not believe in any god(s) that are nevertheless very homophobic. Looking for a scapegoat just seems useless.

  13. says

    Not all religions are anti-gay. People of faith were instrumental in the marriage equality success in VT. But this sort of tolerance is the exception rather than the rule, particularly in the Bible Belt. Many Americans who aren’t sincerely religious use religion to justify their bigotry. It’s no surprise that a recent study showed that the people who consider themselves the most religious are the most ignorant on religious teachings. Religion has become politics in the US, and people use it as an easy, simplistic front for hatred that has nothing to do with religion. Religion itself can’t be blamed for homophobia but the pseudo-religious who rule the airwaves sure can; it’s the major reason why the US is so far behind Canada on marriage equality.

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