Fewer Americans Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin

The Story: The percentage of Americans who believe homosexuality is a sin has decreased significantly in a year, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

The Background: In a survey conducted by Lifeway Research in September 2011, 44 percent affirmed that homosexual behavior is a sin while 45 percent responded that it was not. The response taken in November 2012, however, revealed a statically significant shift. Now only 37 percent believe it is a sin while 43 percent believe it is not. According to Lifeway, 17 percent in the November 2012 survey said, “I don’t know;” an increase of 4 percent over the September 2011 survey.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, notes that halfway between the two polls President Barack Obama changed his position concerning gay marriage. “The president’s evolution on homosexuality probably impacted the evolution of cultural values—there is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year timeframe—though this was hardly a normal year on this issue,” Stetzer said.

Why It Matters: For a sitting President of the United States to express his “evolution” on the subject has likely, as Stetzer suggests, had an influence on public opinion. But I suspect the President Obama’s shift was itself a response to society’s increasing acceptance of homosexual behavior. Since at least World War II Americans have expressed a libertarian streak when it comes to sexual matters (e.g., what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms. . . ). But as sexual issues such as homosexuality move from the private sphere to the public square, tolerance has given way to acceptance.

Even orthodox Christians are beginning to adopt a revisionist reading of Scripture that, as Louis Markos says, would allow them to “un-sin” homosexual practices. As Markos recently wrote for First Things:

Today, many families and churches have allowed their commendable love for the sinner to morph into an acceptance and even a love for the sin itself. Those in the former group lack a full understanding of Christ’s mercy and forgiveness, seen so powerfully in his insistence on eating in the homes of prostitutes and tax collectors. Those in the latter group lack a full understanding of the true nature of sin. When we engage in sin we are not just breaking a societal code or offending refined sensibilities; we are living and acting in rebellion against our Creator and his desire for our lives. And when we do that, we inevitably hurt ourselves and pervert our nature.

“We live in a fallen world, and the fact of that matter is that we are all afflicted by some form of physical, mental, or spiritual brokenness,” Markos adds. “We do ourselves and our loved ones no favors if we define ourselves or allow others to define us by that brokenness.”

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  • JohnM

    “Even orthodox Christians are beginning to adopt a revisionist reading of scripture…”

    I’d suggest that anyone adopting said revisionist reading of scripture is not an orthodox Christian after all.

  • Jonathan Garner

    Depressing. But, I’m glad this article was preached well

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  • Joe Carter

    Trust me, no one is more tired of reading/writing about this issue than me. But there are few other sins—aside, perhaps, from fornication—in which so much effort is made to normalize and change it’s definition as sin.

    If Christians can successfully redefine a sin like this that is so clear cut, then all other more “ambiguous” sins will sin be reclassified too.

    • Jonathan Garner

      I agree with you Joe. Homosexuality is a self-evident sin like that of murder. It’s so obvious that it’s sinful, ignorant and rebellious to think otherwise. The acceptance of something like this will probably lead to other things such as pedophilia, but not necessarily all ambiguous sins because that’s a slippery slope argument. Now, I’m not saying it’s a guarantee 100% because it’s a future event. (Problem of induction)

  • JC

    What do we expect, since most religious bodies that call themselves Christians today hardly ever preach on any sexual sin? When was the last time you heard a sermon on adultery? On divorce? on unscriptural remarriages? On fornication and “living together”? Having children out of wedlock? So many “Christians” are all upset about the “attack on the sanctity of marriage” by the “gay marriage” movement, but the sanctity of marriage has been being attacked for several decades now. And the popular opinion from what GOD meant when he instituted marriage has been vastly different for years. This article’s findings are just a logical progression of the beliefs of people. At the heart of most people is a pride that resents being told that they are wrong and can’t do something their lusts want them to do.

    Anything outside of one man and one woman being married until the death of one of the spouses is not something that GOD wants for HIS created children. The reason? Because HE knows best and knows that what HE calls sins are things that will cause us hurt or harm. There are a lot of people that need to repent in addition to those who practice homosexuality. So we should all take a long, hard look at ourselves first. Remember we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD

    Worldly governments and people may recognize “gay marriage”, but GOD never will, just like he doesn’t recognize unscriptural marriages / remarriages.

    • http://iamhis-lyn.blogspot.com lyn

      Excellent JC; another problem is the ‘re-defining’ of sin. Homosexuality/sodomy is now called ‘gay’, or ‘same sex attraction’, or ‘orientation’, and many Christians have fallen for this, as though this sexually perverted sin renders the participant a victim. We must get back to defining sin biblically and not being fearful of being unloving in doing so. The institution of marriage between one man and one woman has been marred by sinful mankind for quite some time now, including many who profess Christ.
      I believe John MacArthur nails it in this sermon – http://www.gty.org/video/television/T8280-314/when-god-abandons-a-nation

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  • Mike epp

    You cannot be a Christian, or consider yourself as a small “o” orthodox Christian if you allow homosexuality or sexual immorality in your church. You are then an apostate, and there is no label of Christian, according to Scripture that you can give yourself. A Christian is defined by Scripture.

  • http://mikesnow.org Michael Snow

    “Today, many families and churches have allowed their commendable love for the sinner to morph into an acceptance and even a love for the sin itself.”

    And this did not start with homosexual ‘marriages’ but in the church with the acceptance and ‘love’ of divorce.

    And THERE stands a basic problem: Christians aiding and abetting the Zeitgeist in the morphing of Christian basics. Christianity Today noted a decade ago that some of these basics have become “unrecognizable.”

    Not only are many ‘PR’ pastors negligent to clearly teach on sexual sin, but they echo the wold’s views on ‘love,’ etc.

    We need a back to basics movement in our midst. Just preaching on ‘marriage’ is not going stop this movement when Christians are endorsing it out of ‘love.’

    • Phil

      “…the acceptance and ‘love’ of divorce.”

      Please. In two decade as a Christian I’ve *NEVER* seen a Christian church that has any “love” for divorce. OK, there may be some dying liberal mainline or freakish schismatic off-shoot, but of the mainstream church I’ve never seen any “love” for divorce.

      It’s absurd — logically and Biblically — to equate homosexual behavior with divorce… one is banned and leads to the death penalty, the other is regulated to certain circumstance; don’t confuse the two. Before you spew that again, you might want to read Jer. 3:8 where God divorces Israel on the grounds of adultery.

      • http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/ Michael Snow

        Sorry, Phil, I wrote a sloppy sentence. I did not mean that Christians love divorce. I meant that Christians use ‘love’ as an excuse for divorce. I saw this many times in more than one evangelical church.

        And, yes, adultery is the one circumstance that the Bible gives as a reason for divorce.

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