It's Quite Queer
A study released last week reported that nearly 30% of Gen Z (ages 13-25) claim an LGBTQ identity. The study collected young people’s views on lots of things, but the factoid that dominated the headlines was that the younger generations are so very queer. That is both dismaying, yet unsurprising at the same time. A generation growing up discouraged from pledging allegiance to anything higher than their own desires? The moral relativism of modernity’s chickens has to come home to roost sooner or later.
The progressive response to social media posts about this study was “good for them”. We have finally created a society where young people feel they can live as their true selves, so get over it, bigot! Suggestions that this looks kind of like a social contagion were roundly ridiculed. But given that LGBTQ propaganda is in the water (and on TV and in school curriculums and at Target and promoted by the White House..), this is not such a crazy idea.
If you peruse the study, the authors aimed to glean a “political and cultural glimpse into America’s future” by surveying this particular generational cohort. The participants were asked a number of questions about how they see their lives now and their outlook for the future. The teenage portion of this group is less liberal and generally shares the political and religious affiliation of their parents. But the older ones (18-25) report a different story. Gen Z adults say they deal with “negative emotions” on a regular basis. They identify with progressive values and cite ensuring diversity and fighting climate change as priorities. They are more likely to form social connections through the internet than through participation in sport or civic groups. They distrust institutions and are less likely to attend church than previous generations.
A similar study from 2021 concluded that almost 40% of Gen Z identified as LGBTQ. In that study, one of the pollsters who worked on the study, George Barna, attributed the high number to “social and news media coverage that makes it ‘safe and cool’ for young Americans to identify as LGBTQ—whether or not it represents their actual sexual orientation.” That study unearthed similar findings to the one last week – Gen Z are largely religiously unaffiliated, anxious about the future and looking for meaning.
This week I came across a Religion News Service article that claims there is a rise in people who identify as “religious but not spiritual.” Doctrine is not important but ritual and being part of a community is everything. In some ways, it is as if the ritual has formed their belief, or at the least, confirmed what they wanted to be true. Deeds, not creeds. Adherents to a cherry-picked, self-made religion can participate as they like and any difficult bits may be disregarded.
I couldn’t help but put the two stories – the rise of LGBT identification and the purely ritualistic religion – together. When we reject the true God, the hunger for routines that are purposeful, for connection with something outside yourself, for mediation between the divine and the mortal, will be filled up by something, as G. K. Chesterton and others have observed. Add uncertainty about the future and anxiety about the present into the mix and the first system purporting to have the answer that crosses your path will hold plenty of appeal.
While people may gawp (and the groomers, gloat) at the prospect of so many young people identifying as L,G,B,T or Q, I can’t help but think that this is one more facet of do-it-yourself spirituality. Barna noted: “They don't buy into the Bible, they don't trust God, they don't believe in Jesus, and politics have codified that into law, and the media is a major part of it." Man-made religions of all sorts have long dotted the American landscape, but the sexual revolution with its culturally ubiquitous dogma and rituals is winning over the very anxious and ungrounded young people that it created by destroying the families and institutions they needed to thrive. Spiritual abuse of the worst kind!
There is, of course, plenty of evidence that confused young people grow out of it as they mature, however we cannot be ignorant of the fact that there are many forces – human and devilish – that would wish to entrap minds and bodies permanently in these lies. So whether these kids are just saying the popular thing and pollsters exaggerate to make a point, it is always good to speak the truth clearly. Find ways in the space where you are to be pushing back on gender confusion, promiscuity and abuse, replacing it with something stable and real – the love of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, the communion of the saints and life everlasting.