Do Sexual Minorities Benefit from Hatred of Christians?

Do Sexual Minorities Benefit from Hatred of Christians? April 25, 2018

There has been a hurricane of changes over the past decade or so as it concerns acceptance of sexual minorities. It was not that long ago that acceptance of sexual minorities was not very strong in any sector of our society – except among those sexual minorities themselves. Now all the information I have seen indicates that such acceptance is growing in all sectors of our society.

Because this change has happened so fast, I am not sure we have done an adequate job of looking at why attitudes towards sexual minorities have changed so fast. I suspect that the reasons for these changes are multifaceted. Clearly as individuals met more sexual minorities, this humanized them in critical ways and persuaded individuals to be more sympathetic to them. It is also likely a factor that acceptance of sexual minorities grew because cultural elites began to accept them more easily and began to spread their ideas about acceptance more broadly. Finally, acceptance of sexual minorities can be seen as the natural evolution of a trend of accepting groups that have previously been marginalized (i.e. racial minorities, women).

I do not deny any of these possible reasons for the growing acceptance of sexual minorities. But I want to offer another possibility. A recent article of mine will supply some data to support my theory. My contention is this: that some of the growth of support for sexual minorities has emerged due to the strengthening of hatred towards conservative Christians. When I say strengthening I do not necessarily mean increasing since another recent article of mine indicates that the level of Christianophobia in our society has not dramatically increased. But that work also indicates that Christianophobia has increased among cultural elites. This strengthening of anti-Christian animosity among the most culturally powerful in our society may also translate into support for sexual minorities.

The reason why this relationship of sexual minorities support/hatred of Christians may exist is conservative Christians are known for their unwillingness to support sexual minorities. If someone hates conservative Christians, then they may also disregard how those Christians feel about an issue such as acceptance of sexual minorities. In fact, they may figure that if conservative Christians do not accept sexual minorities, then those Christians must be wrong. They may also conclude that a society where there is high acceptance of sexual minorities may be a society that is more toxic to conservative Christians. Thus their antipathy towards conservative Christians may provide them with motivation to support sexual minorities.

But this is just speculation unless there is some data to back it up, and there is that data. I apologize if these next two paragraphs are a little technical. In my article, I used a national survey that asked respondents to rank, on a 0 to 100 scale, how much they like gays, the transgendered, Christian fundamentalists, Christians in general, Muslims and Jews. I determined whether a respondent’s score was either a standard deviation above or a standard deviation below the average of the ratings of all the groups the respondent was asked about. I then used regression analysis to see the relationship of these attitudes on a variety of different measures of questions about the rights of sexual minorities.

The basic accepted explanation is that people who are sympathetic to sexual minorities develop hostility towards conservative Christians because those Christians do not support sexual minorities. Indeed I found that the most powerful consistent predictor of support of the rights of sexual minorities is whether someone has positive feelings towards them. But even when I control for the rankings of sexual minorities, the respondents’ attitude towards fundamentalist Christian is still a significant predictor towards support for the rights of sexual minorities. This tells me that there is more than sympathy towards sexual minorities that is shaping support for them. In addition to that sympathy, hostility towards conservative Christians also seems to matter and it matters even when I controlled for how much the respondents like sexual minorities.

Let me see if I can show what this looks like with less technical statistical measures. I created a sample of individuals who ranked sexual minorities (gays or transgendered) lower than their average rankings of all the groups. So we have a group that is not especially sympathetic to sexual minorities. In fact to varying degrees, I would argue that this is a group of respondents with some degree of disregard of sexual minorities. In that group I separated those who ranked fundamentalist Christians a standard deviation lower than the average ranking of all groups (let’s call them anti-fundamentalists) and those who did not. Among the anti-fundamentalists who are not sympathetic to gays, 53.9 percent of them supported same-sex marriage. Among the others not sympathetic to gays, only 30.2% supported same-sex marriage.

This difference was also reflected when I looked at other measures of the rights of sexual minorities. For example, when looking at whether businesses should have to serve same-sex weddings, 47.1 percent of the anti-fundamentalists would exempt businesses from serving those weddings, while 74.8 percent of the rest of the subgroup would exempt those businesses. As it concerns transgendered individuals and bathrooms, 41.2 percent of the anti-fundamentalists contend that individuals should use the bathroom of their birth while 74.4 percent of the rest of those who did not rank the transgender higher than average believe that transgendered individuals should have to use the bathroom of their birth. There are two other measures of the rights of sexual minorities, as you can see in the article, but the results are basically the same as these three measures.

My results indicate that even among those who do not particularly like sexual minorities, they are more likely to support their rights if they do not like conservative Christians. What is interesting is that this was not the case when I looked at the respondents’ attitudes towards Muslim or Jews. Not liking Muslims or Jews is not related to supporting the rights of sexual minorities. These results are uniquely tied to whether or not the respondents do not like conservative Christians. So the idea that these results are due to a general antipathy towards religion simply does not hold up.

These results also do not seem to be due to some other factor as I controlled for other social and demographic measures. Feel free to look at the article to see what other measures were controlled. It is always possible that there is some other variable that I should control but either could not or did not include. But I am pretty confident that this unique finding of animosity towards conservative Christians, but not other religious groups, is connected to support of sexual minorities.

Perhaps there is an alternate theory that explains my findings. But until I hear that theory I am sticking with the story that there are some people who because of their hatred of conservative Christians, support the rights of sexual minorities. It is not the most powerful explanation of support for sexual minorities, but neither is it insignificant. I think this finding is significant because it offers a new possible explanation of support for same-sex marriage – one that previous researchers have ignored.

One of the implications of this research is that it is very possible that sexual minorities benefit from animosity aimed towards conservative Christians. Of course sexual minorities also have to endure extra problems because conservative Christians are the subpopulation less supportive of their lifestyle, but there is a real possibility that they benefit more from their social conflict with conservative Christians than they lose. Usually social conflict is costly to both groups that are fighting each other. But it is possible that one group can benefit from the conflict if they can use that conflict to gain other allies. I believe this is what has occurred in the culture war to the benefit of sexual minorities and to the detriment of conservative Christians.

This explanation can also be used to understand some of the efforts to punish Christian businesses, schools and organizations that do not subscribe to the new sexuality values. Much of the new fights in the arena of the rights of sexual minorities seem to be less about granting those individuals their rights and more about making sure organizations, including those run by conservative Christians, actively support sexual minorities. The political libertarian basis for sexual minority rights has given way to a more aggressive stance towards dissenters from the new norms of sexuality.

This movement away from a “live and let live” perspective makes perfect sense if a significant portion of support for sexual minorities is tied to an antipathy towards conservative Christians. This antipathy can lead some individuals to look towards using the new freedoms granted towards sexual minorities to punish conservative Christians. My work on Christianophobia indicates that those with this type of religious bigotry tend to have an unrealistic expectation that conservative Christians are trying to set up a theocracy. Thus, a significant minority of those who support sexual minorities may want to use that support to control Christians as a measure of perceived self-defense.

I hope this research provides more insight into the nature of the culture war dividing our society. That war appears to have concluded with the victors being those seeking to promote progressive sexuality and the losers those attempting to defend traditional notions of sexuality. If that is true, then my research indicates that among the victors are those who are motivated more by anti-Christian hostility than affection for sexual minorities.

Update: I wondered if I should do this update but to say the oblivious, it is not a sound rhetoric strategy to rebut the existence of Christianophobia with anti-Christian dehumanizing stereotypes. Come on people, have at least a modicum of self-awareness. As to the study what has to be explained is why the relationships of anti-Christian hostility and support of sexual minorities persists even after controlling for affinity towards sexual minorities. Thus explanations based on sympathy towards sexual minorities due to the mistreatment of Christians does not hold water. Complaining about how awful Christians are, even if those complaints are accurate, do not address the fact pattern of the research. There must be some other explanation and I think my argument of symbolic hostility makes a lot of sense.


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  • Myles

    It is an obvious and desirable situation to see the decline of a scam that has controlled society for so long. Nobody hates your foolish and stupid immoral stances but we grow tired of your sick desires to control everything; not to mention your greed and wilful ignorance.
    Nobody, except leeches, has ever benefited from religion. Nothing has ever been so harmful and damaging to humanity than religion. Getting rid of it would save our world.

  • Salvatore A. Luiso

    I’m uncertain as to whether the first three reasons for acceptance of sexual minorities has increased out of a belief that to oppose their acceptance is to be “on the wrong side of history”. The goals of the LGBT movement are widely considered to be analogous to those of the Civil Rights Movement of the ’50s and ’60s. If one accepts this premise, then does one want to be like those who supported equal rights for all in 1955, or like those who did not support them until 1960, 1965, 1970, a later year, or never?

    The anti-Christian sentiments we see in America today are comparable to anti-clericalism. One can see people speak about the political influence of conservative Christian voters in American history as comparable to the political influence of Catholic clerics in other countries in the past. Hence the notion that opposition of conservative Christian voters to same-sex marriage is a violation of the separation of church and state.

    During the French Revolution, the Catholic Church lost its status, to the benefit of Protestants and Jews. I think that if you were to study whether there was a relationship between anti-clericalism and sympathy and support for the rights of Protestants and Jews, you would find one.

    The Wikipedia article about anti-clericalism says: “Anti-clericalism is related to secularism, which seeks to remove the church from all aspects of public and political life, and its involvement in the everyday life of the citizen[1]” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-clericalism).

  • Pepper Mullen

    I think you are trying to justify hating them (which you are not supposed to do, right?), so you decided they hated you first. What a crock. They hate you because you have been CALLING THEM AN ABOMINATION ALL THEIR LIVES (but fail to hold shellfish eaters to the same standard). HYPOCRITE.

  • The problem with the above article is that it inadequately looks at why some hate religiously conservative Christians. And much of that has to do with the close binding that religious conservatives have with political conservatives. And those political conservatives are not often smiled upon for a number of reasons.

    For centuries, religiously conservative Christians have favored laws that deny the LGBT community equality in society. Many religiously conservative Christians supported white supremacy both before and after the Civil War. We should note that very few white religiously conservative Christians were involved in the Civil Rights Movement while quite a percentage of them used their religious beliefs to defend Jim Crow. For the most part, religiously conservative Christians supported the Vietnam War and American Exceptionalism while opposing feminism’s call for women’s equality. Religiously conservative Christians also support all forms of Capitalism including its current neoliberal form seem to heavily represented in the population of climate change deniers.

    I could go on but until the percentage of religiously conservative Christians who are not political conservatives becomes significant enough to act as a control group, conclusions on any “christianphobia” will not have adequate evidence to support any conclusion.

  • Mickey

    As some of the above comments have mentioned, the conservative Christians have always ranked in the files of the Republican Party. This disgusting organization is only interested in defending the interests and lifestyle of the rich and the white. And mostly the males though some females, blacks and Jews now have to, grudginly, be allow to benefit too.
    Chistianity is a cancer that quickly spread all over the (then known) world after emperor Constantine officially adopted it as the Roman Empire’s religion in the 325 AD Council of Nicea. Since then, like all organized religions, it has done way more harm than good. Religion brainwashes their followers by constant pressured indoctrination that starts at a very young age and renders their victims “faithful”.
    This “faith” greatly diminishes or completely eliminates the ability of analysis and reason among the believers in their dogmas and makes any debate impossible. They believe the Bible is the word of God and, as such, 100% accurate. This is simply not subject to discussion, period.

  • Mickey

    (Cont)
    So the blind sheep precisely follow the directions of their masters believing this is God’s mandate. It’s not!!!
    We all shake our heads and suffer when we see an Isis hooded thug stand behind a hands-tied-behind-the-back innocent Christian about to be beheaded as an infidel in the name of Allah . But no Christian evers seem to remember the Roman Catholic Church did the exact same thing, only worse, for 8 centuries thru the Crusades and the Inquisition. All religions are equally blinding and they all take away the openness of our minds.

    I can’t believe the author doesn’t understand why it’s only hate on Christianity that promotes support for sexual minorities. It’s because your polls were conducted in places (I’m guessing USA) where Islam and Judaism have little to no influence!!! Get it???

  • Graham

    Interesting article! I was thinking the other day about conversions either from christianity to another religion or another religion to christianity. Some people who convert do so amicably saying “oh I guess I was wrong before happy I’ve figured it out”. Others have hostile deconversions where they will tell everyone in the new group how harmful the old group was.

    Specifically in the case of people having a hostile conversion from Christianity into something else there is a tendancy that I have observed to focus on areas of moral disagreement and argue you are a better person after deconverting. In other words I rarely (never in my case) find a hostile ex christian double down on helping sex trafficking, giving to child sponsorship and other 3rd world charities or any other percieved moral strength of Christians. Instead you usually see them focusing on treatment of racial and sexual minorities which are areas of perceived weakness of Christians. Unfortunately this means that Christians are usually hearing some much needed messages about these things from Christian phobic sources which probably leads to associating useful insights on these issues with Christian phobia.

    In any case it would be interesting to see if hostile conversions from Christianity are the reason for what you find

  • Good try. Not buying it. It always floors me that bullies can turn their oppression around and whimper about how, in reality, it is they who are being bullied. Conservative Christians aren’t disliked because people just don’t like Christians. Christians are still a majority. No, it’s because people just don’t like bullies, plain and simple. There is plenty to find distasteful about fundamentalism even if one removes approval of sexual minorities form the mix. White nationalism, xenophobia, control of women and minorities, history of violence and support of wars, bigotry towards Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Jim Crow and segregation, the American Civil War, and that’s just the half of it.

    Your study is skewed and comes to the wrong conclusions because you start with the assumption that there is something called “Christianophobia” then bend your studies findings to support your bias. What is it about fundamentalists that makes them look in the mirror, then forget what they saw when they walk away? Evangelicalism is suffering from a severe case of lack of introspection, and you’re not helping here.

    Instead of blaming others for the mess conservative Christianity has gotten itself into, try a bit more soul searching. Physician, heal thyself!

  • Greg

    People fail to see the principle of being Christian the spiritual uunseen world of two kingdoms at war with each other the kingdom of light and that of darkness, just because you are called christian does not mean you are walking in the Light, God is light in Him is no darkness at all,if we walk in the light as he is in the light we are the true christians as many false prophets have gone out and claim to be from God , test the spirits to see whether they be of God or not.

  • Dalia

    Read “The Marketing of Evil.” It explains how homosexuality formed

  • David E Timmer

    I have not yet read the more detailed version of your study, so this remark is tentative. Could it be that the correlation between A (support for civil rights of sexual minorities) and B (dislike of fundamentalist Christians) is neither a case of A influencing B or B influencing A, but rather a case of A and B being influenced by a common third factor C (say, support for civil rights in general, plus a perception of fundamentalist Christians as being hostile to such rights)? Although visceral hatred of fundamentalists exists (as this comments section amply reveals), I would need strong evidence to conclude that it leads to supporting something just because fundamentalists oppose it.

    • George Yancey

      That is a fair point. In the article I attempt to control for all of the variables we normally think might have a mediating effect on the relationship but one valid criticism of any regression analysis is that there may be effects out there that we do not yet understand. It is quite possible that I or some future researcher will come up with a possible way this relationship is spurious and have the right independent variable to document that possibility. But for right now I do not have a theory about what that variable is and I am left with only my current argument that is some way the directionality is reversed to some extent. I think my explanation for the reversal of some of the directionality makes sense especially when you read some of the literature on symbolic hostility.

  • Dalia

    Read the book ‘”The Marketing of Evil” by David Kuplian. It explains the formation of this evil practice

  • This article was presented well and the hypothesis is merited based on the statistics. They were applied scientifically. The problem is that all the negative responses the author received was due to the fact the respondents don’t understand statistics and ranted about their hatred of religion and in particular Christianity. They didn’t take exception to the statistics presented. Like so many when they can’t argue factually against a position they just get abusive. You can never prove anything to those who are extremely biased as haters of religion usually are. Paul Serwinek

  • Tom Schultz

    Wow! the comments were so negative I wonder if the folks actually read the article! In fact, I wonder why they commented on this forum at all.

  • Graham

    @david timmer: I can’t think of any plausible reverse causality mechanism.
    A mutual causation is interesting though. Perhaps being part of a subculture makes you both more christianphobic and pro gay marriage even if u are personally hostile to gay people.

    The candidate would be to belong to a white urbanized politically liberal subculture. Controlling for race and political ideology may not be enough to weed out the possibility of mutual causation in that case since Christianphobia is probably concentrated in that sub group

  • April

    This article made me laugh. Christians don’t believe in science so this will fall on deaf ears. Anyway, Mother Nature, the Goddess, responds when animals over populate. Too many people, not enough food, water, resources, and homo-
    Sexuality will appear. No more babies. Another generation and 95% of all babies will be gay, yeah! I am not gay and I never had to make a choice. If you must make a choice you are gay. We can all thank the Christians for all the gays…

  • Lee

    Idea for your next research project . . . What is the correlation between reading the Bible “literally” and seeing homosexuality as a sin . . . i.e. as an abomination? I recently made a decision to not attend a newly formed “Bible Study” in my neighborhood. To help guide that decision I had asked the leader two questions. . . 1) Do you read Scripture literally? . . . 2) Do you believe that homosexuality is a sin? In clear terms, she responded emphatically, Yes and Yes.

  • Douglas R. Gamble

    I appreciate the study, the statistical analysis, and the correlations which the author explores. However, I wish he wouldn’t use the term “Christianophobia.” I objected when the gay movement chose to label those who disagreed with its platform as “homophobic.” Just because disagreement exists does not mean “phobia” exists. I can disagree with a person and still respect that person, still honor her or him with the dignity with which every human is endowed. Unfortunately, we seem to be losing sight of this today. It seems that too frequently, disagreement seems to be almost intrinsically connected to condemnation or ridicule. But it must be said that the love which finds its full expression in the New Testament is the love which extends its life even, or perhaps especially, to those who seem hell-bent to fight it. The apostle Paul was precisely in this situation, determined to wipe out those who disagreed with him, yet he came to the miraculous truth that “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). After this realization, everything was different for him.

  • Lee

    In twenty-five years of observing, from both a clinical and personal view, I find that a person who describes oneself as gay is subtly, or not so subtly, eased out of expression of oneself in the Evangelical Church. The damage done is usually significant.

  • Greg

    Why are people so foolish, it is not the homosexual that God hatee as these are still His creation,it is the seed of wickedness that satan has planted and perverted what God has designed as his original plan to multiply life on earth that God hates , not those being ensnared by it.As lucifer the master deceiver always finds ways to deceive and manipulate everything to his advantage but judgement will come on these deceiving evil spirits

  • Oscar

    Regression, when used correctly, measures how much your model explains you dependent variable. Regression is not intended to measure causality.

    How much of your variance did you explain?

    • George Yancey

      That is true that regression cannot measure causality. But one can control for the explanations of causality to see if an effect can be mediated. If it is not completely mediated then one has to look for other potential causes. I am offering one in light of the fact that the most common explanation of the relationship is not completed mediated by the variable that should operationalize it. But if another explanation can be offered and explored then I am open to that.