Americans who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) are less likely to belong to a religious group or church than their straight counterparts.
This according to an updated report from the Pew Research Center, which compiled the statistics based on data from its 2014 Religious Landscape Study of 35,000 people (of which 5% were LGB).
It found that 41% of LGB adults identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” compared with 22% of straight adults who say the same.
LGB people are also less likely to attend church or religious services. While 36% of straight adults say they attend weekly religious services only 16% to 20% of LGB people do the sane.
Significantly, when it comes to believing in the Bible, 38% of bisexuals and 33% of gays and lesbians assert that it is the word of God, compared to 61% of straight Americans.
The researchers did not suggest what might be behind these significant differences, but it’s not a stretch to speculate as to why this might be.
LGB people have historically been marginalised and excluded from mainstream religion, which has traditionally espoused the view that they are immoral and sinful. A number of Biblical passages, for example, are often cited as justification for condemning sexual minorities.
This is reflected in a separate 2018 study which found that LGBQ youth who have strong religious beliefs are more prone to suicide.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that LGB people are not in search of some spiritual meaning. The Pew Research Center noted that LGB adults are as likely as straight adults to say they think about the meaning and purpose of life at least weekly. They are also as likely as straight Americans to meditate at least once a week, with roughly 40% in each group saying they do this.