Religion and homosexuality
Religious belief & the desire to
criminalize homosexual sexual behavior
Religious beliefs and the criminalization of homosexual sexual behavior:
The Barna Group is a conservative Christian polling group that
specializes in researching the public's beliefs on religious and moral
||In 2001, they determined people's views on the criminalization of
homosexual behavior. They found that:|
||Only 34% of born again Christians favored legalization of same-sex
activities. Most feel that sexually active homosexuals should be
imprisoned. We suspect that approximately the same percentage of
conservatives from other religions -- Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, etc. --
would probably agree.
||57% of non-born again adults believed that homosexual behavior among
consenting adults should be legal. 1
||Also in 2001, they found that 95% of
Evangelical Christians believe that homosexuality is a "morally
unacceptable lifestyle." 2|
||In 2002, they found that "Nearly one out of five [American] adults
listed moral decline as a top issue" of concern. They found that
homosexuality was "...listed by less than one-half
of one percent of the public as being among the most serious national issues.
However, even though homosexuality is not near the top of most American's
concerns, it is probably a major item. 3|
The Gallup Organization has been polling American adults
for almost three decades to learn their opinion on the criminalization of
homosexuality. They found:
||Those favoring criminalization of homosexual behavior reached a peak in
1986 when 57% of the adult population believed that it should be illegal;
32% felt it should be legal.
||Those favoring legalization reached a peak in 2003 when 60% believed it
should be legal; 35% felt it should be illegal.
In its Lawrence v. Texas ruling in
mid-2003, the U.S. Supreme Court decriminalized private homosexual acts between
adults throughout the U.S. They have interpreted the U.S. Constitution as
guaranteeing adults' right to privacy. Thus, all laws which criminalize
such behavior are unconstitutional.
There appear to be two solitudes in the United States:
||Religious conservatives from all major religions:
||View homosexuals as a group engaging in an immoral lifestyle who
should be imprisoned. They do not view the "homosexual issue" in
terms of civil rights. Just as murderers, rapists, muggers and other
criminals should have their personal freedoms restricted, so too, severe
restrictions on the rights of homosexuals should be continued. The term
"tolerance" does not really apply towards homosexuals. We don't "tolerate"
criminal behavior in general; why should we tolerate homosexuals?
||Are concerned that God may remove his blessings and protections from
the entire country if the public's moral behavior continues to
degenerate -- particularly if equal rights are given to homosexuals,
whose behavior is hated by God.
||Are concerned about their right to teach their children that
homosexual behavior is profoundly immoral, condemned in their holy
texts, and hated by God.
||Religious liberals, human rights activists, and others:
Many of them:
||View homosexuals as individuals who should be given equal rights and
protections. They view the "homosexual issue" in terms of human
rights. Just as Roman Catholics, Irish immigrants, women and
African-Americans have had to mount long-term campaigns to end
discrimination based on their religion, country of origin, sex and race,
so must sexual minorities fight now to end bigotry based on sexual
orientation. Gay liberation and the achievement of equal rights and
protection is simply the most recent step towards "liberty and
justice for all."
||View God as favoring "justice and liberty for all," including
||Support anti-homophobia 4 education in public schools in order to
sensitize students to the plight of gays, lesbians, same-sex couples and
Dialogue and debate between these two groups is not liable to be productive
until they can first reach a consensus on the nature, morality, and legality of
homosexuality. Religious liberals and others who promote and end to
employment discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation hate-crime protection
for persons of all sexual orientations and same-sex marriage will not be able to achieve a national
consensus if the conservative side wants to talk about sending all gays and
lesbians to jail.
"Born Again Adults Remain Firm in Opposition to Abortion and Gay Marriage," The Barna Group, 2001-JUL-23, at:
"Most Americans Satisfied with Life Despite Having Quality of Life Issues," The Barna Group, 2002-MAR-26, at:
"Six out of 10 Americans Say Homosexual Relations Should Be Recognized as Legal," The Gallup Organization, 2003-MAY-15,
On this website, we define "homophobia"
to be engaging in a behavior aimed at
restricting the human rights of persons who have a homosexual orientation and/or
who engages in homosexual behavior. More information.
Copyright © 2004 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally posted: 2004-NOV-18
Latest update: 2007-AUG-03
Author: B.A. Robinson