Do Most Religious Americans Want “Religious Freedom” Laws Allowing Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Are most religious Americans in favor of hate? Do most like to discriminate? Do most religious Americans want “religious freedom” laws that allow anti-LGBT discrimination? 

A new Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) conducted 40,509 interviews throughout 2016 as part of PRRI’s American Values Atlas.  The results of their study reveal that most American religious groups support same-sex marriage and oppose religiously based service refusals. Click on the charts for larger images.

As you can see, a majority (58 percent) of Americans support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. The PRRI data is broken down further into different religious groups.  From this, we can see what churches/religions are more accepting. 

Unitarian/Universalists (94 percent), Buddhists (85 percent), Jews (73 percent), Hindus (67 percent), white mainline Protestants (63 percent), white Catholics (63 percent), Hispanic Catholics (62 percent), and Orthodox Christians (59 percent) all have majorities supporting same-sex marriage.

Black Protestants (45 percent), Muslims (44 percent), and Hispanic Protestants (41 percent) are somewhat divided.

Only three religious groups–Mormons (37 percent favor, 55 percent oppose), white evangelical Protestants (31 percent favor, 61 percent oppose), and Jehovah’s Witnesses (25 percent favor, 53 percent oppose)–show majority opposition for same-sex marriage. Combined, these three religious groups comprise only 19 percent of the general population.

Nineteen percent of the general population desire us not to have marriage equality.  Why is is such an issue then?  Why does it dominate so much of our time? You would think, the way it monopolizes politics it would be more 50/50.

Besides marriage equality, refusal of services based on religious freedoms is another bulldozer we must fight against. Examining the PRRI data, we learn that roughly 61% of Americans oppose allowing a small business owners to refuse to provide products or services to gay or lesbian people, if doing so violates their religious beliefs. That majority percent includes not only same-sex marriage supporting religious groups, but also majorities of even major religious groups who are divided over or opposed to same-sex marriage.

Combining the religious groups that detest marriage equality the most, we see that most still do not support businesses being able to discriminate.  It may be because many of these groups face discrimination of their own when it comes to business, but from the graph above we see that Black Protestants, Muslims, Hispanic Protestants, and Mormons all oppose small business discrimination against LGBTers. Is it a shocker that at 42% in favor, the White evangelical Protestants stand alone as the only group in which a majority does not oppose religiously based service refusals by small businesses?

Does this help us understand where the hate is coming from?

Does this show us where these bills are being created? 

Does this show that senators and representatives are choosing to represent religious beliefs when they are not a majority of religions' beliefs?




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