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Gay churchgoers more likely to quit mainstream religion

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    Gay churchgoers more likely to quit mainstream religion - 13-Feb-2007
    Lesbian, gay and bisexual Christians have quit mainstream religion at a much higher rate than the general population, according to a Massey University study.

    The report's author, Mark Henrickson, said the results showed it appeared many Christians had resolved disagreement between their identities and religion by leaving their religion.

    "Christian religions by and large have done an excellent job in communicating that a Christian identity and a homosexual identity are incompatible, or at least difficult to reconcile," Dr Henrickson said. The Auckland campus social work lecturer said that of the 2269 gay, lesbian and bisexual participants in the survey, 73 per cent said they were raised as Christians and 22.5 per cent not raised in any religion.

    But only 15 per cent of raised Christians were practising their religion, while 73 per cent were non-religious.

    Dr Henrickson compared the figures to those of the 2001 census, which revealed that people identifying themselves as Christian dropped from 90.1 per cent to 59.8 per cent - a decline of 33.6 per cent when compared with figures from the 1966 census. The results of the study showed that for most people, if they were forced to choose between religious faith and personal identity, they choose the latter.

    "What we can say is that whatever negative messages that organised religions want to communicate - they're working," said Dr Henrickson, an Anglican priest who stressed he was not speaking in his role as a clergyman.

    "In an era of declining mainstream church participation, churches may want to examine the way they're coming across," he added.
    Ref: - NZ Herald - Lavendar Survey


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