". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


‘Nones,’ LGBT-Identifying People Admit that Churches Provide Best Community Life

June 28, 2023

As Western society becomes increasingly secularized and attends religious services in ever dwindling numbers, a curious phenomenon is simultaneously occurring: people who identify as religiously unaffiliated “nones” or as LGBT still express longing for the community life that only religious institutions provide.

In a recent column, New York Times opinion writer Jessica Grose related a response she received after she requested that readers send her their stories as to why they have become less religious over time:

“As the reader Julie Prado, 50, from Washington State, wrote to me: ‘I was raised Pentecostal and went to church three or more times a week, so I desperately miss the community. It was where my friendships came from. I have very few friends now.’ Prado told me she isn’t part of a church because she hasn’t found one that fully affirms gay people or believes as strongly as she does in the separation of church and state. ‘I have joined groups that are fighting for these things,’ she said, like Christians Against Christian Nationalism, but they don’t provide the same kind of social fabric that her church did.”

Grose further reported that sociologists widely admit that no other societal institution can replace the community life that churches provide. “I asked every sociologist I interviewed whether communities created around secular activities outside of houses of worship could give the same level of wraparound support that churches, temples and mosques are able to offer. Nearly across the board, the answer was no.”

Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, pointed out the unfortunate trend of those who long for religious community, but on their terms.

“It’s sad to see LGBT-identifying people who reject core doctrines and teachings of Christianity clearly long for the community and support of the churches they chose to leave,” she told The Washington Stand. “However, some argue that Christianity should change its teachings, traditions, and biblical interpretations to accommodate their lifestyles. They have it exactly backwards; churches are ready and willing to welcome anyone, but church membership comes with an expectation that members will strive to follow Christ and His word.”

Notably, government bureaucrats are increasingly calling for religious institutions to bend their established doctrines to the will of popular sexual ideologies. Last week, the U.N.’s Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, openly derided religions for “excluding” LGBT-identifying people, suggesting that adherence to teachings on sexuality established over multiple millennia could have a “life-long impact on the mental wellbeing” of LGBT-identifying individuals, even to the point of “the taking of one’s life.”

Some Christian churches appear to be adhering to Madrigal-Borloz’s philosophy by taking it upon themselves to openly change established doctrines to fit LGBT ideologies. On Tuesday, the Daily Caller reported on a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota who recently led the congregation in a “sparkle creed,” which starts with the words, “I believe in the nonbinary God, whose pronouns are plural.” The “creed” went on to state that Jesus “wore a fabulous tunic and had two dads,” appealed to “the rainbow spirit,” and declared that “love is love is love.”

It remains to be seen whether the apparent attempt to appease those who hold to LGBT ideologies will reverse the decline of the Lutheran Church. According to internal projections, the 3.14 million-member church “will have fewer than 67,000 members in 2050, with fewer than 16,000 in worship on an average Sunday in 2041.” The decline mirrors other mainline denominations who are seeing sharp drops in membership despite liberalizing their doctrine.

“Instead of trying to force Christianity to embrace LGBT ideology, people need to be willing to reexamine their sexual desires and behaviors and repent,” Del Turco told TWS. “That is how they will find true fulfillment, not merely in a Christian community, but in Christ.”

She went on to observe that the natural desire of those who are religiously unaffiliated and who identify as LGBT for the community life that churches provide is vital for their flourishing.

“This is also a testament to the value of churches and the community that it adds to our lives,” Del Turco concluded. “Regularly joining together with fellow believers roots us in a support system, adds to our identity, and enables us to care for one another practically, emotionally, and spiritually. In an increasingly isolated and lonely world, we shouldn’t take that for granted.”

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.