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The Family Research Council is demonstrably wrong

In a recent press release, the flagrantly anti-gay Family Research Council claimed:

As more churches move away from biblical authority, their attendance suffers. Just ask the Episcopal Church, whose pews are virtually empty after the decision to endorse homosexuality. It’s time to push back on the spin that’s feeding our weak brethren who say that compromising truth in pursuit of love is the way to reach the lost.

Is any of this factually accurate? As usual, no.

First, the Episcopal Church has experienced an overall decline in attendance (PDF) of 3.7% from 2000 to 2010 – hardly “virtually empty” pews.

Second, the idea that churches have lost followers due to “compromising truth” is wholly contrary to reality. A series of studies of young Christians and ex-Christians found that three out of five of them will leave their churches for a lengthy period, often permanently, after age 15. Why? Were their former faiths just too accepting of gay people? Were they driven away by churches that prized love over “truth”, and compromised their doctrines in order to appeal to more people?

No. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Those who left their churches offered several reasons for leaving, such as the perception that Christians “demonize everything outside of the church”, that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers”, that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in”, that “teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date”, that “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths”, and that they feel “forced to choose between my faith and my friends”. Do these sound like people who wanted more “truth” from dogmatic churches which demand they place religious belief before reality, humanity, and love?

According to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, 69% of Millennials believe “religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues”. In other words, people aren’t leaving because their churches are too tolerant of homosexuality. They’re leaving because their churches are too intolerant of homosexuality. The FRC is operating outside of reality, in a world that exists only in their fevered imagination.

Comments

  1. lisanneanderson says

    Church membership has been generally declining for decades. The mainstream Protestant churches saw precipitous drops in the 70s and 80s. I think the main reason is that churches have become irrelevant to many people.

    That said, many of the ones who stay wish that their churches would exercise the dynamic role they had in the 60s, where they were very present in the civil rights movement. Those who stay hope that by so doing they might collectively have an impact on the leadership of their denomination. Whether that is effective is questionable, the leadership of these groups seem so out of touch with their members.

  2. TJ says

    More and more young people are seeing through the make belief that is religion. I can only hope the younger generation continues to question tradition and critically think.

  3. says

    Thank you. As a gay man I thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling the truth about this issue. Secondly, as an atheist, thank you further.

    It’s a good thing, IMHO that so many are leaving the church as they realize how corrupt and evil those places of worship really are.

    • TJ says

      I was one of them. Took me the better part of a decade to cast off that mindset and I’m more happy now then I ever was as a Christian.

  4. Rodney Nelson says

    The FRC and suchlike organizations have never let mundane, trivial things like facts and logic to influence their bigotry.

  5. The Other Point of View says

    As a Christian I can vouch for that. Many people get tired of Churches that can mobilize to demonize gay rights, but can’t lift a finger to help a member meet their mortgage payment.

    Not all Churches are like that, but the ones that are literally suck your soul dry till it’s either leave or choke somebody.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Zinnia Jones: According to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, 69 percent of Millennials believe “religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues”. In other words, people aren’t leaving because their churches are too tolerant of homosexuality. They’re leaving because their churches are too intolerant of homosexuality. The FRC is operating outside of reality, in a world that exists only in their fevered imagination. [...]

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