As a gay person, of course, I'm distressed by the homophobia and hatred peddled by churches. But as an atheist... I see an upside of sorts:
In a survey released Wednesday, nearly one-third of Millennials who left the faith they grow up with told Public Religion Research Institute that it was "negative teachings" or "negative treatment" related to gays and lesbians that played an significant role in them leaving organized religion. Specifically, 17 percent of Millennials, or adults between 18 and 33-years-old, said negativity around LGBT issues in religion was "somewhat important" to their departure, while 14 percent said it was a "very important" factor. A majority of Americans, 58 percent, also said that religious groups are "alienating young adults by being too judgmental on gay and lesbian issues." Among Millennials, that percentage jumped to 70.
"While many churches and people in the pews have been moving away from their opposition to LGBT rights over the last decade, this new research provides further evidence that negative teachings on this issue have hurt churches’ ability to attract and retain young people,” PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones said in a statement.
For centuries bigoted anti-gay "faith" leaders harmed only queer people. Now anti-gay preachers and churches are doing harm to themselves. Expect to see more churches downplay their anti-gay bigotry—or reason/interpret/revelation their way out of it—once they realize that their "sincerely held religious" bigotry is increasingly costly. Gay boys being brutally bullied by their peers, parents throwing their lesbian daughters out of the house, trans kids being driven to suicide—preachers and priests at mainline dominations and storefront churches didn't give a shit about any of that. But when they see attendance at services drop, and when they see fewer dollars dropping into collection plates, they'll move once again in their "conception of the value of human beings" until they realize their anti-gay bigotry "was terribly wrong."
You can bank on it—and so, unfortunately, can they.