Saturday, October 23, 2010

Poll: gay suicides thought to be linked to religious messages

Excerpts of Survey links gay suicides to religious messages by Kristen Moulton, Salt Lake Tribune

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that messages from U.S. religious pulpits are connected to the rising rates of suicide among gay youths, according to a new poll.

72 percent say religion contributes to negative views of gays and lesbians.

[T]oo few Mormons took part to draw conclusions about their own leaders' handling of the homosexuality issue.

The nationwide poll's high percentages startled Cox, whose nonprofit institute conducted it Oct. 14-17, prompted by a rash of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment and bullying. 

[M]ore than twice as many Americans give places of worship low marks in handling the homosexuality issue as give them high marks.

Younger people, women and Democrats are most likely to say messages from faith communities contribute to the suicides and negative perceptions of gays and lesbians.

Eric Ethington, a gay-rights activist who organized the protest of Packer's speech, says messages from the pulpit clearly cause stress for gay and lesbian LDS youths. But he suspects most Mormons would give their church high marks on the issue.

"Only members actually affected by it can recognize the [negative] effects," he said.

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