Newsweek (June 17) reports that a recent poll finds that most LGBTQ adults in the United States are religious, the majority of these being Christian. Conducted by Buzzfeed and Whitman Insight Strategies, the survey, the most extensive of its kind, surveyed a sample of 880 members of the LGBTQ community nationwide in late May. The study found that although 39 percent of those polled said they had no religious affiliation, more than half of the respondents said they were regularly involved in faith organizations. A majority of those saying they were religious were Christian, with 23 percent of all respondents identifying as Protestant and 18 percent identifying as Catholic. Another 8 percent reported being Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist, and 8 percent specified some “other” religious affiliation. Five percent said they were “not sure” when it came to religion.

A 52-country analysis of Catholic commitment finds considerable variation between national Catholic populations as well as significant influence of the historical legacy left by the Church in each country. The study, conducted by sociologists Brian Conway and Bram Spruyt and published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (online in June), was based on an analysis of the European Values Survey (2008–2010) and the World Values Survey (2010–2014) that included indicators of the subjective importance of God, church attendance, and prayer. Conway and Spruyt found that “within-country differences related to social demographics” were modest, while variance at the country level was high. They found that Catholic identity and practice were “being eroded by modern society,” with “existential security” (such as the influence of the welfare state and health insurance) rather than competition and secularization driving such changes. Historical legacies, such as communism and colonialism, had a significant impact on Catholic commitment, although more recent situations and crises, such as child abuse scandals, did not have a strong impact on these indicators.

(Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion,

A lower level of religious observance among younger adults versus older ones is common around the world, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in more than 100 countries and territories over the last decade. Though the age gap in religious commitment is wider in some nations than in others, it occurs in many different economic and social contexts—in developed and developing countries, and in secular and highly religious societies. For example, adults younger than 40 are less likely than older adults to say religion is “very important” in their lives not only in wealthy and relatively secular countries such as Canada, Japan and Switzerland, but also in countries that are less affluent and more religious, such as Iran, Poland and Nigeria. Yet this pattern is not universal. In many countries, there is no statistically significant difference in levels of religious observance between younger and older adults. In the places where there is a difference, however, it is almost always in the direction of younger adults being less religious than their elders. Just two countries—the former Soviet republic of Georgia and the West African country of Ghana—have younger adults who are, on average, more religious than their elders. In 41 countries, adults under 40 are significantly less likely than their elders to have a religious affiliation, while in only two countries (Chad and Ghana) are younger adults more likely to identify with a religious group.

(The Pew study can be downloaded at:

A study of environmental policy and actions in Germany appearing in the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (vol. 12, no. 1) finds planners drawing on religious and spiritual themes while also avoiding talking about their views and feeling embarrassed about them in a secular society. Scholars have argued that “dark green religion,” as Bron Taylor calls it, which includes perceptions of nature as sacred, strong feelings of connectedness toward nature, and the idea that nature has intrinsic value apart from humans (rejecting “anthropocentrism”), is becoming increasingly important in the environmental movement. Jens Koehrsen conducted a study of the urban energy transition process in northern Germany, interviewing actors strongly participating in the process. Based on 37 interviews with the leading actors in the city of Emden’s switch from conventional energy sources to wind and solar power, Koehrsen found some evidence of dark green religion in their views.

The interviewees used “religious semantics” to describe nature and to express their connection to it. They spoke of “being one with nature” and “receiving its energies.” Yet the study found no clear evidence of a rejection of anthropocentrism and of “supposed expansion channels of eco-religious worldviews in this particular environmentally engaged city.” The interviewees expressed hesitancy about speaking with their closest peers about their religious views and feelings toward nature. Koehrsen concluded that the “low acceptance of these topics point to the marginalization of religion/cosmologies and emotions in energy transitions. As energy transitions are often framed as technological and economic transformation processes, there is little space for these topics which are likely to appear as irrelevant or even counterproductive. Even more so, public commitment to some sort of eco-religion that is not officially accepted could undermine the credibility and ascribed rationality of pioneering actors.”