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Americans Increasingly Support Acceptance of Homosexuality

Thomas Whitley

Most Say Homosexuality Should Be Accepted By Society: Opposition to gay marriage has fallen by 19 points (from 65%) since 1996. (For more on changing public views of same-sex marriage, see Pew Research Center reports from March 3, 2011 and Oct. 6, 2010.)

I think this is definitely a move in the right direction and am pleased to read that

Among religious groups, substantial majorities of the religiously unaffiliated (79%), white Catholics (66%) and white mainline Protestants (65%) say that homosexuality should be accepted.

I was disappointed, though not surprised, to also read where "evangelical Protestants" are on this issue:

However, just 29% of white evangelical Protestants agree, while more than twice as many (63%) say homosexuality should be discouraged by society.

It is clear that evangelical Protestantism is out of touch with the rest of society, a fact I imagine they will see as evidence of their "rightness" and "righteousness."

What I am really interested in, though, is a study that compares the views of religious leaders (conservative, moderate, liberal; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc.) with their churches/mosques/synagogues to see if my theory that religious leaders are very often out of sync with even their own congregations holds any water. My experience within Christianity has been that one thing is proclaimed from the pulpit while another thing altogether is practiced/believed by those in the pew.

What do you think? Is this trend in America of acceptance of homosexuality a positive thing? What role should religion play in shaping one's view on this and other social issues?