Survey: Most Britons Say Religion is Sexist, Discriminates Against Gays

A majority of people surveyed in Britain believe religion is sexist and discriminates against homosexuals, according to a recent poll.

Six out of 10 people believe that all religion is fundamentally sexist and 56 percent say all religions fundamentally discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.

The poll, which was commissioned by the Movement for Reform Judaism, has driven the liberal religious denomination – known for its support for homosexuality – to highlight the importance of its new gender-neutral prayer book.

The Reform movement is using gender-neutral language, for the first time, to refer to God. Its new prayer book will also give female figures in the Bible equal prominence to males. Nearly three quarters of Christians think that God is male and about six out of 10 Jewish people agree. Only four out of 10 Jewish people say it is right that God should be referred to solely as "He."

The results were based on a survey of over 1,000 adults and have come out just a week after the release of the International Lesbian and Gay Association's 2008 report on "homophobia."

According to the report, homosexuality is a punishable offense in over 86 countries.

"Whether exported by colonial empires or the result of legislations culturally shaped by religious beliefs, if not deriving directly from a conservative interpretation of religious texts, homophobic laws are the fruit of a certain time and context in history," said Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, co-secretary general of ILGA.

"Although many of the countries listed in the report do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where a significant portion of the citizens needs to hide from the rest of the population out of fear."

Last month, the global United Methodist Church approved a resolution opposing homophobia and heterosexism. The denomination's resolution came as Christians in the United States have begun to show more compassion when dealing with the issue of homosexuality while maintaining their biblical stance that homosexual practice is sin.

Despite the negative perception most Britons have of religion, over two-thirds of poll respondents said they still believed that religion has a place in modern life.

The Reform Movement of Judaism represents about a quarter of Britain's Jews.