Saturday, February 11, 2012

Prop8 and a new religious reality?

Do you think things have changed "on the ground"?  This writer does.
In 2008, the “gays versus religion” frame was strongly entrenched in the mentality of the American public. ... 
That is no longer the case. We are in a new reality. 
Since 2008, we have seen faith-based campaigns like Believe Out Loud raise up the stories of LGBT and affirming faith leaders who have decided that they cannot be silent about their faith and their belief that God created and loves the whole world, and that God’s creation includes the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people….

And these voices of faith, speaking out in support of the LGBT community, have helped drive the public opinion shift. A majority of Americans now support marriage equality, thanks in large part to hearing the voices of loving and committed same-sex couples. … 
Another writer drills into the data:
[A]  new exploration of 2011 polling by Public Religion Research Institute offers decisive evidence that the old assumptions about battle lines between secular proponents and religious foes no longer hold. Majorities of five major religious groups and the religiously unaffiliated favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, compared to three major religious groups who oppose same-sex marriage. On the side supporting same-sex marriage, the religiously unaffiliated (72 percent) are joined by majorities of Jews (76 percent), Americans affiliated with a non-Judeo-Christian religion (63 percent), white Catholics (56 percent), Hispanic Catholics (53 percent) and white mainline Protestants (52 percent). Together, these religious groups make up approximately 45 percent of the general population. 
On the other hand, large majorities of white evangelical Protestants (75 percent), Mormons (75 percent) and black Protestants (63 percent) continue to oppose same-sex marriage. Opposition to same-sex marriage among these groups is intense: near-majorities of Mormons (48 percent) and evangelicals (46 percent) strongly oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. Together, these groups comprise approximately 32 percent of the general population. 
Within these opposition groups, however, a generational gap signals that with the passage of time, this intense resistance may ebb. 
The writer goes on to point out that the media meme of "Gay vs. Christian" is no longer accurate.  

Is this shift sufficient to change things?  I'm not so sure, as LGBT rights continue to be a dog-call to the right--along with abortion, and surprisingly, contraception.  But, this much I will certainly agree with:
 There are those who continue to deny that God created LGBT people as they are and, as such, should have a place at the table. For this reason, we still desperately need more people of faith to continue to speak out and share their faith and their belief in a fully inclusive society. 
I challenge every one of you to speak out forcefully every time you hear the "gays vs. Christian" meme.  Remind the speaker that many LGBT are Christian, and many Christians (and most Catholics!) agree that LGBT people should be married.  There is a new reality and the media-- and the public-- need to catch on.


dr.primrose said...

If the Prop. 8 issue isn't decided in the courts and we have another election on same-sex marriage, I'm going to be very interested to see how the rank-and-file Mormons act.

Southern California has a relatively high Mormon population (one of the second or third largest groups after the RCs) and they've historically been off the radar screen. There's virtually nothing in the local papers about them and they're not highly visible in politics.

They got heavily involved in Prop. 8, largely at the direction of their leaders. I think they were shocked how negatively they were perceived as a result. The Mormons I know are the paradigm of "nice." I suspect many of them will be very gun-shy about getting involved in this issue again at the same level that they were in 2008.

IT said...

I wouldn't count on it. The Mormons I know are very nice, but very much connected to what the church says.

dr.primrose said...

Let's hope we don't have to get there. Things have changed so much since 2008. There are a lot of people I know, non-Episcopalians and non-church going, who have moved from a position of "This is an issue that I don't have a lot of strong feelings about" to "This is an important issue of justice and fairness."

If the Mormons in Southern California go gung-ho on this the next election, it's going to destroy a lot of friendshps.

Counterlight said...

I always do speak out on my blog, even though I get bashed coming and going by missionary atheists on one end and by fundamentalists on the other.

I think things are changing.

"Dripping water hollows a stone, not by force, but by continuously dripping" observed Ovid.

Jim Pratt said...

I would agree with IT: the rank and file Mormons are not going to vote contrary to how the leadership tells them. However, they might not be so visible in the public square next time around. They'll vote against same-sex marriage, but they won't be out front campaigning against it. So while the anti's may have Mormon money for their ad campaigns, they won't have the foot soldiers on the ground, pushing their friends and neighbors.

dr.primrose said...

Op-ed in yesterday's L.A. Times -- Why gay marriage is inevitable. Some excerpts:

"Why is gay marriage inevitable? First, the basic insight of the gay rights movement over the last four decades has proved powerfully correct: As more gays and lesbians have come out of the closet, the social environment has become more gay friendly. In turn, as the social environment has become more hospitable, more gays and lesbians have felt free to come out of the closet. This social dynamic is powerfully reinforcing and unlikely to be reversed.

One factor that most strongly predicts support for gay equality is knowing someone who is gay. As more gays and lesbians come out of the closet, more parents, children, siblings, friends, neighbors and co-workers know or love someone who is gay. Because few people favor discrimination against those they know and love, every gay person coming out of the closet creates more supporters of gay equality.


"A second reason that gay marriage seems inevitable is that young people so strongly support it. One study by political scientists found a gap of 44 percentage points between the oldest and youngest survey respondents in their attitudes toward gay marriage. A 2011 poll found that 70% of those age 18 to 34 supported gay marriage. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which young people's support for gay marriage dissipates as they grow older.

The trend in favor of gay marriage has accelerated dramatically in the last three years. Before 2009, the annual rate of increase in support for gay marriage was about 1.5 percentage points, but since then it has been closer to 4 percentage points. Statistical models predict that in another dozen years, every state will have a majority in favor of gay marriage.

In recent years, many conservatives have begun to acknowledge the inevitability of gay marriage, even as they continue to strongly oppose it. In March 2011, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on a Christian radio program that 'it is clear that something like same-sex marriage … is going to become normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture.'

"'It's time,' he continued, 'for Christians to start thinking about how we're going to deal with that.'"

IT said...

I have been an out member of this community for years, now, with exactly this goal. Id on't know whether my witness has changed anyone's opinion but I hope it's done something towards making it inevitable.

Meanwhile, I continue to feel battered and dehumanized by the language employed by the opposition as they completely misstate who I am am and the nature of my relationship and say such awful things.

JCF said...


I had The Talk w/ my rector this morning, more later---

wv, "nonsistr". *snort*

JCF said...

HOLY CRAP, Blogger *just* went to multi-word word verifications! :-0

And they're harder to read than ever... >:-(