June 17, 2010
According to a new survey by the Gallup organization, for the first time a majority of Americans—53 percent—believe that gay and lesbian relationships are morally acceptable. Only 43 percent of Americans call these relationships morally wrong.
This is a dramatic change from the beginning of the millennium. In 2001, only 40 percent of those surveyed called same-sex relationships "morally acceptable" while 53 percent called them "morally wrong."
According to Gallup, the "gradual increase in public acceptance of gay relations" is "almost exclusively" a result of changing attitudes among males towards homosexuality. This is especially the case among men under the age of 50.
The change in attitudes has happened despite little, if any change, in beliefs about the causes of same-sex attraction. Americans are evenly divided on the "nature versus nurture" explanation, and have been for a long while.
The only good news from the survey results is that 53 percent of those polled are against same-sex marriage, which is "down slightly" from last year.
Not surprisingly, gay-rights activists are ecstatic over the results. At the Atlantic Monthly, Andrew Sullivan called the results a cultural "Rubicon" and rejoiced in the failure of those he labels "Christianists"—a nice back-handed comparison to "Islamists."
Christian commentator Rod Dreher, while he completely disagrees with Sullivan on the issue, agrees that the tide has turned.
But these results were to be expected—given the relentless barrage of pro-gay media coverage and the overwhelmingly positive depiction of same-sex relationships in popular culture.
A recent New York Times article noted that people are "starting not to notice" when celebrities come out of the closet. The Times lamented that what was "once seen as a defiant and courageous act of such social and political significance" has "has lost some of its potency."
I wonder why? Could it be that, if your perception of the world is shaped by pop culture, you expect a lot of people to be gay? Could it be that after years of being told by elite media, like the Times, that being gay is "no big deal" people treat the news that someone is gay as "no big deal?"
The elite molders of opinion have done their job well. We live in a world where moral qualms about homosexuality are regarded as bigotry. Today it requires more courage, as well as strength, to swim against the cultural tide and express any reservation about homosexual relationships.
But swim we must. What is true has never been a question to be decided by polls or popular opinion. Truth isn't "democratic" - it's something that God has written into the very fabric of nature.
Of course, that idea is even less popular than our beliefs about same-sex relationships. We in the West have elevated autonomy, which literally means "self-law" into our highest value. Now listen to me folks, this is going to be a wakeup call. The tide has turned against Christians in the culture because we haven't been doing our job in the church. Culture matters. Politics follows culture. That's why we've got to start making a better case. You can come to the Colson center and get all kinds of resources to winsomely present our arguments.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.