Friday, June 6, 2008

LifeWay Research: Views of homosexuality and its impact on outreach

"Americans hold contradictory opinions on the issue of homosexuality, including whether homosexual behavior is sinful. A similar percentage of Americans consider homosexual behavior sinful to those who do not, and neither view gains a majority, according to a new study by LifeWay Research. The study also found that Americans’ views of homosexuality impacts their openness to participation in a church."

Holding opposing views, 39 percent of Catholics, 61 percent of Protestants and 79 percent of born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants said they do believe homosexual behavior is sinful. Among the sample of all Americans, 48 percent said they believe homosexual behavior is a sin.

Twenty-nine percent of Americans said their decision to visit or join a church would be positively affected if that congregation taught homosexual behavior is a sin. Among Catholics, that number dropped to 23 percent. Thirty-eight percent of Protestants and 50 percent of born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants said they would be more likely to visit or join a church if it taught homosexual behavior is sinful.

Thirty-two percent of Americans – almost one in three – said their decision to visit or join a church would be negatively affected if that congregation taught homosexual behavior is sinful. Among Catholics and Protestants, that number is 27 percent. It dropped further to 21 percent among born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants. Among those who never attend any place of worship, 49 percent said this teaching would negatively affect their decision to visit or join a church.

"Those statistics should give church leaders pause and lead them to strike an important but delicate balance between demonstrating Christ’s love for all people while still presenting a biblical teaching about homosexual behavior," said LifeWay Research Director Ed Stetzer.

Read the full article on LifeWay.com

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