Religious Messages Fuel Hate, Survey Says

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Religious messages have always been a source of controversy in the news, but a recent survey shows that most people think they fuel hate and judgment on diversity.

What is the role of the media in publicizing controversial religious messages? With the rise in gay-teen suicides scattered across the media headlines, it is no doubt that religious messages and controversies are also a topic of discussion.

It is one thing for the messages to be from the pulpit, but these messages are now also shown in the media as fueling judgment and hate. It is obvious that the religious groups are getting the brunt of the blame for these issues.

The survey said that while "Americans are split about whether they see homosexual activity as a sin, 72 percent say religion contributes to negative views of gays and lesbians." One example of a religious establishment that many people point a finger at is the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City. Senior apostle Boyd K. Packer recently referred to "same-sex attraction as "impure and unnatural.""

Comments such as these make the Christian church as a whole an obvious target for anger and blame with the rise of publicized gay-teen suicides. However, there are only a small number of churches currently or recently in the public eye for these kinds of comments and actions against gay and lesbian tendencies.

It is important for media consumers to remember that the media highlights specific things for the purpose of readership. Media outlets look for controversy in order to gain readership and sometimes this can make a small amount of people appear to represent a larger group like the "Christian church".

The "Christian church" can not technically be blamed for the actions of one or two congregations around the country. It is also important to remember that though under the umbrella term of "Christian," churches around the country are for the most part not directly connected to each other. In fact, many churches have spoken out against the actions of these media engrossed congregations. Churches speaking out against hate don't get as much media attention because they aren't sparking the same kind of intense controversy among the public.

Religious messages will always be a source of controversy and will always be blamed for tragedies like the gay-teen suicides. The important thing to remember is that a small group like a single church congregation does not always efficiently represent the larger group that it identifies itself with.


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