New polling details the larger Trans story regarding acceptance by American faith groups
A new Pew Research Study explored the topic of faith and transgender people in the US and it gives a better understanding of where some of the largest faiths in the country sit on the issue.
Using the recent announcement from the 2.2 million member Union for Reform Judaism,which said the group would allow trans folks, as a starting point, Pew looked at more than 10 of the larger faiths in America and released the following details:
When it comes to acceptance, our research about churches and religious groups’ formal positions on transgender individuals found a range of levels of inclusion.
As for specifics, Pew found four faiths – Episcopal, Reform Judaism, Unitarian, and United Church of Christ – that all had official statements affirming transgender members. All four allow trans folks to be ordained as well.
Other large faiths were found to be accepting, but not with quite the open arms listed above.
In 2008, the United Methodist Church blocked a motion which would have denied transgender individuals from serving as ordained ministers, but the church currently lacks an official statement of support for LGBTQ folks. They are set to vote on a new motion around sexual and gender minorities in 2016.
Members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) removed language from their faith which would have banned transgender ministers in 2010, but the faith also lacks an official statement of affirmation. Pew compared them to the Evangelical Lutheran Church which also lacks an official statement, but ordained a trans minister in July of this year.
Conversely, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, The Pentecostal denomination Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention all took steps to deny transgender members full access, often asking them to deny their need to alter their body by surgical or chemical means or risk excommunication.
The Southern Baptist Convention stands out for the most flagrantly anti-transgender, passing a measure in 2014 which said they “oppose all cultural efforts to validate claims to transgender identity.”
The Catholic Church similarly has a ‘God Says No’ stance on transgender members, saying those who have changed their gender are not allowed to marry in the church. And Pope Francis was quoted comparing ”gender theory” to nuclear weapons in that they are both a danger to humanity.
Other faiths covered in the study - Presbyterian Church in America, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) and the African Methodist Episcopal Church - were said to lack any official statement on transgender members, but with their history of condemning homosexuality, a similar attitude against transgender members and clergy was to be expected.
While all of this information could prove useful to some, Pew also found it may not be too useful to those it is actually about. A 2013 study found LGBTQ adults in America are often less religious, with almost 50% saying they have no religious affiliation, compared with 20% in the general public.
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