Organized religion implies a hierarchy, and a hierarchy implies money rising to the top. It’s no accident that cardinals are called “princes of the church.” Any hierarchy’s first mission is to preserve and expand its power. Hence, any threat to that power is dealt with severely. (Witness the Inquisition, witch burnings in Europe and Salem, and the fundamentalists’ on-going missions to Africa to preach their belief in the evils of homosexuality … resulting in mayhem and murder.) It’s simplistic to say that various churches’ opposition to same-sex marriage is because they want more children to recruit, but there’s always that niggling thought. [Niggling isn't racist; it comes from 17th century Scandinavian language meaning to “fiddle.”]
Groupthink occurs when an idea surfaces, and “gets legs” because even people who think it’s a bad idea are reluctant or afraid to speak out. At some point, the idea becomes so codified that no one will challenge it. As a matter of interest, the frozen O-rings that caused the Challenger disaster were almost certainly a direct result of groupthink.
A greater problem, however, is based on contemporary neuroscience. It’s been known for some time that people latch onto the first thing they hear about an issue or event. Their mind creates a filter that will allow future supportive information in, and will block information that challenges the notion. The more information they hear that supports the notion, the more solid the filter becomes. That’s old news. More recently, it’s been shown that information contrary to the initial belief is not only rejected, but also serves to strengthen the filter. Thus, it becomes nearly impossible for an outside force to break these filters by a frontal attack. They can only be undermined.
[This is something I wrote to a friend after he and his wife broke from the Catholic Church after the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.]
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.