US vs US – Andrew Marin

March 26, 2017

Us Versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community by Andrew Marin (Navpress, 2016).    Waiting for permission to post digest.  What follows is an abbreviated outline.  You can purchase the book here.

  1. Introduction: 
    1. Most LGBT people regularly attended a faith community for the majority of their youth.
    2. Most left the church after they came out.
  • Most still believed in God and were interested in one day finding a faith community.
  1. Most were less concerned with a church’s theology of homosexuality than they were with how they were treated by individual Christians at church.
  1. Chapter 1: There is No They – 86% of LGBTs were raised in a faith community from the ages of 0 to 18
    1. Raised in a Religious Community:
      1. 75% General American Population
      2. 86% LGBT
    2. Chapter 2: The Great Exodus: 54% of LGBT people leave their religious Community after the age of 18:  “I left the church because I couldn’t find one person who cared to listen to my story.  I mean really
      1. Leaving A Religious Community after the age of 18:
        1. 27% General American Population
        2. 54% LGBT
      2. Chapter 3: The New Prodigals
        1. 76% of LGBT people are open to returning to their religious community and it’s practices: “I would come back if I had the strength to do so.”
        2. Open to Return
          1. 9% General American population
          2. 76% LGBT community: This total includes one-third of LBTs raised in theologically conservative faith communities.
        3. Chapter 4: Faith in Exile: 36% of LGBTs continue their faith practices after the age of 18. “Disagreement would still be a part of any community I’m involved with…So why would I leave?
          1. Continuing Faith Practices
            1. 47% General American population
            2. 36% LGBT community

Not all LGBT people are outside the church. There are those who never left….36% of LGBT respondents continue practicing the faith of their youth, even as some of them continue to have very serious disagreements over a theology of sin….


Chapter 5  An Orientation of Prayer:  80% of LGBT people regularly pray regardless of religious identification or affiliation.  “I pray to God throughout the day…It’s not like I have to be in their church building to pray.”

  1. Regular Practice of Prayer
    1. 79% General American population
    2. 80% LGBT community

…Such incredible and undeviating results highlight that for LGBT people, sexuality and spirituality are connected. They brought God into their identity struggle right at the beginning – typically before their parents, their friends, their teacher, their clergy.  I’m convinced that this near universal experience is why the LGBT community cares so much about religion – even those who were not raised in a religious context or who have outright rejected religious faith…. God and LGBT orientation are irrevocably tied together…


Chapter 6 Age Matters in the Culture War.  The LGBT experience before coming out, and the dynamics of closeted adulthood. “I  stopped going to youth group and church altogether after I went to college. I had to start living with the fact that I’m gay and figuring out what that means for my life.  That’s when I started coming out to some people.”

  • Age-related Findings
    1. Average age at which participants came out – 17
    2. Average age of still closeted participants – 32.5
  1. Conclusion – Moving Forward Together: “I want to be a part of something redemptive….I look forward to continuing to see what good we can do together.