Monday, June 22, 2009

SFGate: Politics Blog : Religious study: Gays not "godless" "Christian bashers"

SFGate: Politics Blog : Religious study: Gays not "godless" "Christian bashers"

This breaking news in from The Barna Group -- a chronicler of religious life and habits, particularly of the Christian variety: Gay folks' attitudes about spirituality aren't much different from straight folks. These and other "surprising insights" were in Barna's spiritual profile of gays released Monday. In it was a bit of a political heeding for gay-bashers:

"People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts," wrote George Barna Monday. "A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today."

"It is interesting to see that most homosexuals, who have some history within the Christian Church, have rejected orthodox biblical teachings and principles -- but, in many cases, to nearly the same degree that the heterosexual Christian population has rejected those same teachings and principles," Barna said. "Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume."

Now there will be some quibbling with a couple of Barna's assumptions. Like how Barna pegs the LGBT population at about 3 percent of the adult population. No, he doesn't believe in the 1-in-10 stat, but then again, LGBT population scholar Gary Gates says it's more like 5 percent, depending how you count.

That aside, the Barnanians found that "out of the 20 faith-oriented attributes examined in the Barna study, there were just a few in which there were no significant differences between the heterosexual and homosexual populations."

Hmm. "No significant differences between the heterosexual and homosexual"(s)? Does Donald Wildmon know about this?

One big diff, according to the study: "While seven out of every ten heterosexuals (71 percent) have an orthodox, biblical perception of God, just 43 percent of homosexuals do. In fact, an equal percentage possesses a pantheistic view about deity -- i.e., that 'God' refers to any of a variety of perspectives, such as personally achieving a state of higher consciousness or maximized personal potential, or that there are multiple gods that exist, or even that everyone is god."

Another diff: "Heterosexuals were twice as likely as homosexuals to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches."

And in the timeliness is next to godliness (OK, and cleanliness) dept: On Monday a crew of organizations supporting same sex marriage are launching their Get Engaged Tour of California -- a pump-priming tour of the state in advance of an expected 2010 ballot measure campaign expected later this year. We told you about it a while back. Faith leaders will be prominently featured on this tour, as opposed to last year's anti-Proposition 8 campaign, when they were largely invisible.

"Our faith-based values require us to love our neighbor as ourselves," said Pastor Samuel Chu, of California Faith for Equality. "Gay and lesbian people are our neighbors and they should be able to enjoy the dignity, respect and commitment that come with marriage."

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