How do Religious Congregations Affect the Attitudes Toward Homosexuality of Their Congregants?
Psychology or Religion and Spirituality
American Psychological Association
Using a stratified random sample of 338 participants nested in 20 congregations within 3 denominations, we examined the relationship between religious service attendance, affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) identities, their interaction, and attitudes toward lesbian women and gay men (ATLG) to better understand the potential role that congregational-level variables may play in the formation of ATLG. Hierarchical linear models indicated that 29% variation in ATLG could be explained by congregation-level variables. Religious service attendance on an individual level was related to more rejecting ATLG. The relationship between religious service attendance and ATLG on a congregational level (i.e., average frequency of attendance within a congregation) was marginally significant. Affirmation of LGBQ identities on a congregational level (i.e., policies and procedures empowering individuals in same-sex relationships) was related to more affirming ATLG. Congregation-level predictors evidenced substantially larger effects than individual-level predictors. Interactions between service attendance and congregational affirmation were nonsignificant, indicating that increased engagement with a “less-affirming” congregation has no effect on ATLG. Results indicate that individuals may select a congregation whose ATLG mirrors their own. Further research examining the role of congregations in influencing congregants’ ATLG is encouraged.
Lefevor, G. T., Sorrell, S. A., Virk, H. E., Huynh, K. D., Paiz, J. Y., Stone, W. M., & Franklin, A. (2019). How do religious congregations affect the attitudes toward homosexuality of their congregants? Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Advance online publication.