Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Experimental Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Garcia, Donna M.


The Westboro Baptist Church and Phelps family are notorious for their signs proclaiming anti-homosexuality epithets such as “God Hates Fag,” and references to Biblical verses to revile homosexuality (e.g., Romans 1:24-27). Although the homonegativity bias that Westboro patrons and many traditional Christians express is often understood as being rooted in religion, I proposed the possibility that religion can be a justification rather than source of homonegativity. That is, although religion typically is seen as the source of prejudice towards LGBT+ people, I argued that this relationship might work in reverse. I examined under which conditions this “reverse” phenomena might occur in both the Pilot Study and follow-up study. My Pilot Study results suggested that there are differences in participants’ level of Religiosity after falsely being told they held LGBT+ prejudices. These differences were moderated by political alignment. Relatively liberal participants were more likely to have higher levels of Religiosity after receiving Biased Feedback compared to those who received Neutral Feedback. In terms of those who were more politically conservative, their level of Religiosity tended to be about the same regardless of which feedback they received. When it came to Biblical Literalism, however, relatively conservative participants had higher levels of literalism when given the Neutral Feedback compared to relatively liberal participants when given the same Feedback. These findings were mostly replicated in the follow-up Main Study. The results from both studies suggest that, under some circumstances, people might use religion to justify their prejudice towards LGBT+, and the strategy they use is affected by their political alignment (liberal or conservative). There could be differences in motivations between people who are more politically conservative and those who are more politically liberal. These potential differences are addressed in the discussion.