Conservative views driving young people away from organized religion: 'They have no reason to go'

Half of young people report feeling disconnected from their religious backgrounds, according to a new report.

A new survey found that half of people ages 13 to 25 think that religious institutions care little for the issues that matter deeply to them, such as racial justice, gender equity, immigration rights, income inequality and gun control, and that may be driving a decline in membership for several denominations, reported the Wall Street Journal.

"I don't accept the teachings when it comes to discrimination," said Christian Camacho, a 22-year-old who grew up in a conservative Catholic family in Minneapolis. "I know a fair number of young people who don't go to church, not because they will be discriminated against — they just have no reason to go."

The report released Monday by the Springtide Research Institute found that about 71 percent of young people say they care about LGBTQ rights, but feel that 44 percent of religious communities share their concern.

"Younger people are more open," said Zaina Qureshi, a 16-year-old from Massachusetts whose father is Muslim and her mother is Catholic. "I don't associate myself with any institutional church."

The survey found that most young people -- 78 percent -- consider themselves spiritual, although only 47 percent belong to a religious community and only 23 percent attend religious services on a weekly basis.

"Our data show a clear disconnect between young people and religious institutions. But even with this disconnect, our data don't reveal a loss of interest in spiritual and religious questions among young people, or even a loss of faith," the Springtide Research Institute report stated.

"I hear what priests and pastors say at the pulpit and say to myself, 'No, that is not what I believe in my heart,'" said Jesse Brodka, a 22-year-old special education teacher from Buffalo who remains part of the Catholic Church despite his frustration over its social teachings. "The fact that the Christian faith has become a symbol of judgment speaks to that gap between religious organizations and the non-judgment that we value as young people."