Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to be atheist than anyone else in the general population, a new survey has found.
Nearly half of all LGBT adults surveyed said they were atheist, compared to 20% of the general population.
According to the Pew Research Center, those who said they were religious also attended services less often and attach less importance to their faith than other people.
A 34-year-old lesbian is quoted in the report as saying she attends a church that allows gays and lesbians to be ordained.
‘However, it would be an issue for some people in the church and I’m not ready to open that can of worms,’ she said.
The online survey of 1,200 self-identified LGBT adults in California is one of the largest and most detailed of the community, Pew has said.
George Broadhead, secretary and trustee of UK-based gay humanist charity The Pink Triangle Trust, alleged atheists in the US are more discriminated against than LGBT people.
Speaking to Gay Star News, he said gay people in the UK, in his experience, was a far larger majority of the atheist population than the Pew research suggests.
‘I would say without a shadow of a doubt, in this country that religion, the hostility of religion to LGBT relationships and rights, puts them off.
‘I can’t understand why anybody in their right minds if they’re gay or lesbian would want to embrace any religion like Catholicism which is so hostile. It’s masochistic.’
Sharon Ferguson, from the UK-based Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said it was the media who often puts faith and sexuality at opposing ends.
‘The message for a long time now is one of LGBT people are not welcome within church, and so naturally that message gets through, and people feel there isn’t a place for them within organized religion,’ she said.
‘But if you talk about spirituality, that would be a very different kettle of fish. Gay people probably have a greater spirituality and greater desire to connect with the divine than the rest of the population.’
She added: ‘The Christian voice saying it is an abomination is actually a minority, and they’re not speaking the truth. You don’t have to pick one or the other, you can have both, it’s not either or, you can have both.
‘You don’t have to be in the closet when you go to the church about your sexuality, or be in the closet in the gay bar about your faith.’