Study denounced for claiming LGBT agenda doesn't threaten Christians

A study that claims the LGBT agenda is not a threat to Christians in America is being denounced by scholars.

Decision Magazine is reporting that the study was from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and alleged that broad acceptance of the LGBTQ agenda “has no bearing on the religious liberty of Christians in America.”

The study’s investigators are Clara L. Wilkins, of professor brain sciences, and Lerone A. Martin, a culture studies teacher and Washington University.

Their claim?

“Although Christians perceive increasing bias against their group, there is little evidence to support those perceptions,” they wrote.

However, that wasn’t entirely accurate.

Decision reported George Yancy, a sociologist from Baylor who was cited in the study, explained, “They accurately cited that I did not find anti-Christian sentiment increasing but did not cite that I also found that those with anti-Christian sentiment have grown more powerful in society over the past few decades.”

He continued, “Needless to say, even if those with anti-Christian attitudes do not increase in numbers, if they increase in power then they have more of an ability to act on their religious bigotry.”

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler pointed to the study’s “obvious partiality,” the report said.

“There is no doubt that the Left is doing everything within its power to marginalize conservative Christians,” Mohler said. “This is not a new ambition, but it certainly has renewed energy, fueled by the LGBTQ revolution. Scriptural Christianity is increasingly at odds with a society of moral rebellion.”

He said the demands from the LGBTQ community are “that Christians abandon biblical Christianity, and then they suggest that we are the ones who are the agents of conflict if we won’t go along with their revolution.”

The study posted on the PsycNet site of the American Psychological Association, which made the document available for purchase, explained itself:

As social policies have changed to grant more rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, some Christians in the United States have suggested that LGBT rights impede Christians’ religious freedom. Across five studies, we examined the causes and consequences of zero-sum beliefs (ZSBs) about Christians and LGBT individuals. We demonstrate that Christians’ beliefs about conflict with sexual minorities are shaped by their understandings of Christian values, social change, interpretation of the Bible, and in response to religious institutions. In Study 1, heterosexual cisgender Christians endorsed ZSBs more than other groups. Christians reported perceiving that anti-LGBT bias has decreased over time while anti-Christian bias has correspondingly increased. In Study 2, Christians’ zero-sum beliefs increased after they reflected on religious values, suggesting that intergroup conflict is seen as being a function of Christian beliefs. Study 3 confirmed the role of symbolic threat in driving ZSBs; perceived conflict was accentuated when Christians read about a changing cultural climate in which Christians’ influence is waning. An intervention using Biblical scripture to encourage acceptance successfully lowered zero-sum beliefs for mainline but not fundamentalist Christians (Study 4). A final field study examined how ZSBs predict sexual prejudice in response to changing group norms. After a special conference in which the United Methodist Church voted to restrict LGBT people from marriage and serving as clergy, zero-sum beliefs became a stronger predictor of sexual prejudice (Study 5). We discuss the implications of Christian/LGBT ZSBs for religious freedom legislation, attitudes toward sexual minorities, and intergroup conflict more generally.

Decision reported that David Closson, of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council, cited a list of examples of “religious animus,” including failed Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke “suggesting that religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage.”

Also, Pete Buttigieg, another failed Democratic presidential candidate, argued that religious organizations that hold Biblical beliefs about gender and sexuality—and therefore choose to not hire LGTBQ people—should be barred from receiving federal funding.

Then there is the radical Equality Act, through which Democrats want to strip religious rights and conscience protections from Christians.

Fox News wrote that Yancey additionally faulted the study for using only one study on anti-Christian bias when “there is a lot more out there.”

The report said Closson, who holds an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the study appeared skewed.

He noted a “throw-away paragraph about Christian nationalism,” among references to Christian racism and opposition to science.

“Closson faulted the study for appearing to rely on participants’ self-identification, rather than using specific questions to determine beliefs and behavior. His center commissioned a study finding that while 51% of American adults claim to have a biblical worldview, only six percent of them answered worldview questions in a manner consistent with the Bible,” the report pointed out.

And while the psychologists claimed there was significant “overlap” between Christians and LGBTQ people, Closson said many denominations wouldn’t recognize a person as a Christian if that person identifies with a sexually alternative lifestyle “and refused to repent of it.”

“Closson also mentioned the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘absolute evidence’ of anti-Christian bias. The SPLC’s map of ‘hate groups’ plots Christian organizations like FRC alongside truly virulent and violent racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. He noted that the SPLC keeps FRC on the ‘hate map’ nine years after a terrorist shot a security guard in an attempted mass murder at FRC headquarters. The terrorist told the FBI he used the ‘hate map’ to target FRC. The SPLC condemned the attack, but it has kept FRC on the map,” the report said.

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