Harry Farley of Christian Today reports on a New Poll: Are Churches Welcoming Towards LGBT People?
The question whether gay people are accepted in church has dogged Christian leaders for decades.
But a new poll out on Thursday reveals the same proportion of people think gay people are welcome in UK churches as those who think they are unwelcome. A YouGov poll highlighted that 30 per cent of Brits believe churches are welcoming towards gay people with 33 per cent saying they are not welcoming.
Younger people were more likely to think LGBT people are unwelcome in church, with 38 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds saying churches were not hospitable to gay people and 36 per cent of 25 to 49-year-olds agreeing. Those over 60 were almost twice as likely to think the LGBT community was welcome in church than unwelcome…
The Church of England Newspaper has also looked at the poll: Public don’t believe the Church offers a welcome to all in society.
The poll was commissioned by Jayne Ozanne, who has issued this press release:
Status of established church queried as poll reveals few believe Church of England serves whole nation.
Less than half of British adults believe that the Church of England is there for everyone, with only a third of adults believing UK Christian churches are welcoming towards the LGBTI community.
A recent YOUGOV poll has shown that only 47% of British adults agree that the Church of England is there for everyone who wants to go to Church. Of equal concern is the fact that less than a third (30%) believe that Christian Churches are welcoming towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community…
The full text of the press release is copied below the fold.
The full results of the poll can be viewed here.
STATUS OF ESTABLISHED CHURCH QUERIED AS POLL REVEALS FEW BELIEVE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SERVES WHOLE NATION.
LESS THAN HALF OF BRITISH ADULTS BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IS THERE FOR EVERYONE, WITH ONLY A THIRD OF ADULTS BELIEVING UK CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ARE WELCOMING TOWARDS THE LGBTI COMMUNITY.
A recent YOUGOV poll has shown that only 47% of British adults agree that the Church of England is there for everyone who wants to go to Church. Of equal concern is the fact that less than a third (30%) believe that Christian Churches are welcoming towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.
Christian LGBT campaigner, Jayne Ozanne, who commissioned the research said:
“What is of greatest concern is the fact it is those who the Church is most keen to reach – the young and those of “no religion” – who believe that the Church is not there for everyone, and that they are not welcoming to the LGBT community. If the Church is serious about its commitment to mission, it needs to heed the concerns and perceptions of those it wants to attract, otherwise no one will want to listen.”
Commenting further, the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said: “A national church should serve the whole nation, irrespective of creed, colour, class – and identity. It is a tragedy for our mission and ministry that the Church of England continues to denigrate and discriminate against lesbian, gay and transgendered people. The church cannot afford to cling to its establishment whilst colluding with its own institutional homophobia, and also continually capitulate to reactionary conservative lobby-groups. The manifest injustice of this will continue to impede all efforts to evangelise future generations, and will consign the church to an inevitable irrelevance.”
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, who has been a key advocate for LGBT equality added:
“The Church of England must learn to listen to those it seeks to serve. It is interesting to note those who are most likely to think that the Church is there for everyone and that it is welcoming are Christian conservatives over the age of 50 – our traditional heartland. However, if we want to be a national church for everyone we need to understand and respond to the concerns people have, and recognise the fact that many think we are not there for them.”
The research was commissioned to understand how national perceptions towards the Church of England are changing, particularly in the light of its attitude towards the LGBT community. It follows a question on October 13th 2016 in the House of Commons by Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South, to the Second Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman, regarding the pastoral care of LGBT people in the Church of England in which she stated:
“Does (the Second Estates Commissioner) agree that now is the time for those of us who are Christian but not of the LGBT community to give more careful consideration to these issues?”
With less than half (47%) of those who identified as Anglican and just over a third (37%) of those identifying as Roman Catholics believing that Christian Churches are welcoming to the LGBT community, it appears that many are starting to do just that.
1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,669 adults (of which 415 identified as Anglican and 120 identified as Catholic). Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 12th October 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Full results of the survey can be viewed here.
2. Susan Elan Jones MP question to the Second Estates Commissioner can be viewed here.