Pro-Gay Religious Voices Absent in Mainstream Media


A new study has found that religious contributors to the media are largely anti-gay, despite growing and often majority numbers among religious people favoring LGBT rights.

The Center on Religion & the Professions at University of Missouri, in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), studied three years of mainstream news media content.

They found that three out of four religious messages came from people whose religions have formal policies opposing LGBT equality — despite the fact that acceptance of LGBT people is growing across faith traditions

A pro-LGBT religious perspective was almost absent and individuals who identify as both LGBT and religious were ignored, so viewers were left with distorted views of the relationship between LGBT people and religion and the media followed a false ‘gay vs. religion’ frame.

Evangelicals were consulted at a higher rate than their presence in the population would warrant. Catholics consulted presented negative messages about LGBT issues — when 71% of American Catholics support marriage equality and 73% support anti-discrimination laws that would protect LGBT people in the workplace and in public accommodations.

Mainline Protestant, Jewish, or other religious sources whose messages were predominantly positive were almost absent and despite 16% of Americans identifying as Humanist, atheist, or agnostic, only 1% of people quoted in the media are identified as such.

The study concluded:

By overlooking LGBT-affirming sources, journalists can contribute to — and even perpetuate — the idea that those who are religious are, by definition, opposed to LGBT equality. In looking specifically at the organizations represented among religious commentators, we find a common profile: culturally conservative entities seeking to influence the political debate, with overt reference to “Christian” or “biblical” values, and often with the explicit endorsement of currently serving political figures.

Disproportionately favoring the voices of Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics — who are more likely to present negative messages about LGBT people — is neither fair, nor accurate, nor balanced coverage.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute in January 2012:

  • Five religious groups favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, compared to three groups who are opposed.
  • Support is strongest among Jews (76%), the unaffiliated (72%), and non-Christian religiously affiliated Americans (63%), a group that includes Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. A majority of white Catholics (56%), Hispanic Catholics (53%), and white mainline Protestants (52%) also favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

“Given how many churches and religions are affirming LGBT people today, the lack of supportive religious voices in the media needs to be addressed,” said Debra Mason, professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. “The study shows media routinely set up a false conflict fueled by negative messages said by people with a religious affiliation.”

GLAAD recently launched a new resource which aims to educate people on the opinions of anti-gay pundits who often appear on news programs.

Related stories:

When ‘Balance’ Becomes Bias: Transparency Urged on Anti-Gay Pundits

Christian TV Grifters In Trouble, Again

Thousands Rally For a Secular America

Photo from Steve Rhodes via flickr


Vlasta M.
Vlasta M5 years ago

The "usual suspects' who are affiliated with various gay and human rights issues have been so brainwashed by islamic propaganda that they totally ignore viloent abuses of human rights in Muslim-majority countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where they hang gays, just for being gays. They also behead witches, stone adulteresses, lash women for driving and/or not wearing hijab. However, these same proclaimers of "proection of human rights" are fast to condemn the only democracy in the Middle East, which respects rights of all individuals.

Israel always admitted gays into military and that had never been an issues. Israel also does not have death penalty and that is why some 500 terrorist murderers were exchanged for on Israeli soldier. Many of those who keep mum when Muslims abuse human rights should be punished by reading Koran and Hadith from cover to cover to understand what they are defending, and perhaps open their eyes to this supremacist ideology of hate, rather than defending it. Let the truth open their eyes and hearts.

Beth S.
Beth S5 years ago

Paul C.,

Perhaps you can tell us by whom Care2 is owned, or more specifically, to what degree do Muslim interests own or influence Care2.


Sharon Balloch
Sharon Balloch5 years ago

Even if I did not follow Jesus I would have nothing against Gay folks.. why should I? What has that to do with me?

I will tell you what that has to do with me, Gay children kill themselves six time more than any other group of children! That is my business, that is what it has to do with me. Children dying is my business! Gay children need us, more hugs, more smiles, more understanding. Those who stand against them are standing against me also.

monica r.
monica r5 years ago


Guess what, neither did Paul. He used it exactly the same way Jesus and Clement did. Quite a few distinguished people since then also understood it to NOT mean homosexuality, including Josephus, John Calvin, John Gill, Alan Redpath, and Dr. Gordon Fee. Sorry, but I'll take the definition of the word Jesus used, as well as these others who define the word the same as Jesus did, over yours (or what you "feel is the truth"). (Google those guys if you don't know who they are.)

If you have other verses, please list them, I'd be happy to go back to original language on those as well.

You say we won't agree on religion and here's why. You say "I will go by what I feel is the truth" and then I should do "my thing." Well Carol "my thing" is not what I "feel" the Bible says, nor is it twisting what it says to fit my worldview. I'm not talking about just reading it, but studying it, and relying on accurate translations of original words, and scholarship about it, including of philosophers who lived at the same time or shortly after Jesus did. I'm talking about digging deeper and finding out what it really says. You will ignore all that and "go by what you feel is the truth." You're right, then, we will never agree, because what you "feel is the truth" disagrees with what Jesus said on this topic.

monica r.
monica r5 years ago

The problem, Carol, is people or preachers who don't know what the Bible actually said.

Please give chapter and verse of where YOU understand the Bible to say homosexuality is wrong. If you do, we can look at the words that are in modern translations saying "homosexuality" but if we look at the ancient languages and usage OF THAT TIME, those words mean nothing of the kind.

I'll take a stab at it you might mean 1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

In that passage the original Greek word Paul uses is "malakoi" which certainly did not, particularly at that time of history, mean homosexuality, though some recent Bible translations call it that. They are incorrect. Jesus Himself used that word in Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25, and in both instances he was talking about how people who wear soft clothes and have a coddled lifestyle are in kings' houses. Jesus didn't use it to mean homosexuals.

Neither did Clement of Alexandria AD 150-215, who explains it had to do with people wearing soft clothing, men with tunics to the floor, women wearing sheer clothing, too much attention to hair, makeup, and jewelry for both men and women. Many of these practices were understood to be associated with temple prostitutes and fertility rites in worship of fertility deities. Clement didn't use it to mean homosexuals

Tommy S.
Tommy S5 years ago

@ Carola M
quote.... I sense the same thing on Care2. It comes across to me as a group of liberals who feel a group (Islam) really are inferior so you lower the bar of civilised behaviour for them. It is you who don't expect the same from Islam and Muslims as you do from everyone else that is the true prejudice here....Unquote
Absolutely spot on....
Islam has been teaching hate since muhammed moved to Medina and changed islam from a benign religion into a violent political entity (probably all due to British and American agression )

Carol Dreeszen
Carol Dreeszen5 years ago

Carol, I beg to differ:

"The religious right are not forcing their beliefs on anyone either."

Quite obviously if they call homosexuality a sin when Christ Himself did not, and when they fight to make it illegal for them to have marriage equality, and when they try to "cure" them by prayer or other means, they absolutely are forcing their beliefs on others.

"Christianity has taken a beating all the way around and we are not going to take it anymore."
"I believe in what is said in the Bible.."

Except maybe not the parts in the Bible about turning the other cheek and forgiving 70 x 7, since you're "not going to take it any more"?

Monica...Quite obviously you and I will NEVER agree on the way you look at religion among other can say what you want is in the Bible or not...I will NOT argue with you!!! It IS written in the Bible to not lie down with one of the same..OK you tell me what you think it means! One of the same WHAT!? What are they talking about Monica if they are not talking about human beings...dogs, cats...deer or quite possible humans.If you don't take that as being gay or lesbian then I guess you never will! You and I just think totally different and I will go by what I feel is the truth and you can do your thing too! And by not taking it anymore I mean we are not going to sit back and let all of the laws pass that go against the morals of God and those who try hard to follow his words! Laws will be changed!!

Carol Dreeszen
Carol Dreeszen5 years ago

First I will say, I have never EVER met anyone who really loves the sinner but hates the sin. Maybe G-d can pull that off but we humans can't seem to. Anyone who says that is already bigoted, since they have singled out a certain sin as "worse" than other sins (and of course usually worse than their own). The fact they are condemning someone as a sinner for how they were made by G-d is hardly the act of a loving heart. Last I checked, the Bible still says ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of G-d. Now the "love the sinner hate the sin" people can ignore their own sin of pride pretty easily I notice, as they point the finger calling someone else a sinner.

Monica..No one here was calling anyone a appears someone has taken it that way though..they are very incorrect! Just because you have never met one does not mean they are not out there! What I hear you saying is that there are none that can do that....presumputious of you!? I would bet if you went to churches of every kind you would find MANY Priests, Ministers, Rabbi's and you name it who love the sinner but hate the sin! That is a fact!! To say nothing of regular people! We are out here!! And to call one bigoted for being that way is going way overboard IMO!! You do not know what people think so why try and judge them for something that YOU think they feel!? The Bible ALSO says what not to do...maybe you forgot that part!?

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago

You can pull up anything you want from the Bible- from "burn the city to the ground, kill the all the men- enslave the women and children" to "Blessed are the Meek".. A cherry picking contest.

monica r.
monica r5 years ago

To lump Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims together makes their numbers meaningless. If one is like 80% okay with it and another 75% okay with it, the 3rd could then be only 34% okay with it. We have no idea which of the 3 are for or against, though knowing the prophet said gays should be killed, I can guess which the lowest one would be.