STUDY: Pro-LGBT Religious Voices Largely Absent In Mainstream Media

(Click on the graph to see it full size.)

A new study from GLAAD and the University of Missoui Center on Religion & the Professions finds that pro-LGBT people of faith are the “Missing Voices” — severely underrepresented in mainstream media. In fact, three out of four religious messages about LGBT issues over the past three years have come from people who identify with anti-gay faith traditions. Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics were by far the most represented in the media, with mostly negative messages to share, while those from Mainline Protestant and Black Church affiliations often shared positive messages but were invited to do so significantly less often.

The study also notes that the proportion of these messages does not reflect the U.S. population. Evangelicals appear more often (34 percent) than their presence in the population should warrant (26 percent), and the frequency of anti-LGBT Catholic messages (over 50 percent) conflicts with the strong LGBT support among American Catholics (over 71 percent). In contrast, about 16 percent of the population identifies as Humanist, atheist, or agnostic, but that group only constituted 1 percent of religious discussions on LGBT issues.

Perhaps the most troubling result of the study was the discovery that the media constructs a conflict between religion and the LGBT community. Those hostile to LGBT people were often identified with their religious identity, while those who were supportive or neutral were not.

ThinkProgress similarly documented that progressive voices of faith were completely absent from the Sunday morning political shows’ conversations about religion. This clip serves as a perfect example for how one-sided the media has become on matters of spirituality: