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In the Name of Love: The Church, exclusion and LGB mental health issues – Oasis Foundation

March 21, 2017

itnol‘Traditional’ church teaching on same-sex relationships is per­petuating mental-health problems among LGB people in Britain, this report suggests. It argues that, by teaching that same-sex relationships are wrong, the Church has upheld the societal discrimination that causes mental-health problems in LGB people.

A Department of Health-funded University of Cambridge study in 2014 suggested that sexual min­orities were two to three times more likely to report having a long­standing psychological or emotional problem than their heterosexual counterparts.

The Oasis Foundation’s report states that these problems stem from the stigma, hostility, and dis­crimination directed at LGB people in society, and then argues that the Church must bear much of the blame for this.

The founder of Oasis, the Revd Steve Chalice, writes in the report’s introduction: “It is no secret that the negative stance taken by the Church, and so many individual local churches, has a hugely dis­tressing impact on large numbers of LGB people, and leaves countless numbers of them living lives of forced secrecy and dishonesty.

“Tragically, it is also common knowledge that the resultant an­guish and distress often leads to spiritual, mental, and physical harm, and, in the worst of cases, to people making the desperate deci­sion to take their own life.”

The report quotes research that found that large numbers of people — particularly younger groups — believed the Church to be institutionally homo­phobic:

It also argues that, because all but one of the main Christian denominations — the exception being the United Reformed Church — teach that homosexuality is in some way less than God’s ideal, they are contributing to discrimination against LGB people within society.

There is too much assertion here – LGBTs have low self-esteem; the churchees fuel negatity = the churches cause low self-esteem. I wish this was backed by evidence, if only anecdotal.


Too often however, these powerful testimonies are dismissed by those that don’t want to hear them –  those who are not yet ready to face up to the scale of the damage that we collectively have unintentionally  caused.

it is the Church and local churches who are fuelling this  negativity.

Research demonstrates that church goers are almost three times more likely than a non-religion person to have negative views about same-sex relationships and while all groups of people have become more liberal in attitude since the early 80s, church goers have done so at a considerably slower rate.

Analysis by the Oasis Foundation demonstrates that the majority of negative messages about same-sex relationships in the mainstream media are driven by churches or church goers and that most political opposition to the liberalisation of laws around same-sex relationships is from those who can be publicly identified as Christian.

Churches that are inclusive to LGB people need to be clear on their inclusive position and find effective ways of presenting this to their local communities. An effective method would be to sign up to the ‘Open Church charter’ which is designed to be a badge of welcome, support and sanctuary for LGB and T people.

About half of UK church goers have inclusive views about people in same-sex relationships, half of those do not feel able to be talk about their views in a local church environment.

Of the signatories listed on the website of the Coalition for Marriage (the campaign against same-sex marriage), 74% can be publicly identified as Christian.

Of the MPs who voted against the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013, 54% self-identify as Christian and many others may privately consider themselves people of faith.

An analysis of 100 national media articles on the topic of ‘same-sex marriage’ found that 47% contained a negative comment, and of those negative comments 91% are from a Christian leader or commentator or politician who can be identified as Christian.

The report is available here

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