Warning: The following news will warm even the blackest, coldest heart. While certain people hold the misguided belief that Islam is an “intolerant” religion, a new survey from the Pew Research Center (PRC) found that more than half of American Muslims are accepting of homosexuality, a number which has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Although it would be great if homophobia wasn’t a problem at all, this number is just one of many that show how far LGBTQ acceptance has come in the last decade.
The PRC conducted a survey of 1,001 American Muslims between January and May of this year, asking about a variety of topics ranging from political preferences to social values. After analyzing the results, researchers found that, much like the rest of the U.S. public, American Muslims have grown more tolerant of homosexuality over the past few years. In a similar survey back in 2007, 61 percent of Muslim respondents said homosexuality should be discouraged, while just 27 percent said it should be accepted. By 2011, respondents were evenly split, and by this year, opinions seem to have flipped. In this year’s survey, 52 percent of American Muslims agreed that homosexuality should be accepted by society. Even though 33 percent indicated that they did not approve, this is a leap forward worth celebrating.
“Just as in the general population, there is a strong generational component to Muslim Americans’ views about homosexuality … But acceptance of homosexuality has increased among all generational cohorts,” researchers wrote.
While acceptance of the LGBTQ community is on the rise in most of America, there’s one group whose views stick out: white evangelical Christians. As the Huffington Post points out, they noticeably lag behind other religious groups in their views on the LGBTQ community. In June, the PRC reported that just 35 percent of white evangelical Christians support same-sex marriage. While that number has grown marginally since 2007, and the younger generation is far more accepting, it’s not the steady increase in tolerance that can be seen among other American demographics. Furthermore, they remain the only major religious group in America that favors allowing businesses to refuse LGBTQ customers.
This is particularly interesting given the complicated relationship between white evangelicals and Muslims. Unlike other Americans, evangelicals are far more likely to believe Christians experience more discrimination than Muslims do in the United States. Research has also shown that they tend to hold reservations toward Muslims; almost three-quarters of white evangelicals believe there’s an inherent conflict between Islam and democracy, according to data from 2016. And yet, despite so many evangelicals seeing Islam as naturally intolerant, Muslims tend to be more progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights.
The good news is that LGBTQ tolerance is an increasingly widespread trend, and Americans are finally starting to feel warmer toward Muslims as a whole. Despite what’s currently happening in the White House, it looks like the majority of American people are more tolerant than you’d think.