Is Homosexuality a Sin? More People, Including in Tuscaloosa, Say No
Smith, Jamon, The Tuscaloosa News
TUSCALOOSA | As the battle for same-sex marriage rights continues in the U.S. Supreme Court, the court of U.S. public opinion is debating another issue involving homosexuality: Is homosexuality a sin?
According to a recent survey by LifeWay Research, most Americans now believe that it isn't.
In September 2011, 44 percent of Americans said it was a sin, 43 percent said it wasn't and 13 percent said they didn't know, according to the survey.
But when the survey was conducted again in November 2012, barely more than a year later, public opinion on the matter shifted.
The percentage of Americans who believed that homosexuality was a sin dropped from 44 percent to 37 percent, while the percentage of people who said it's not a sin increased to 45 percent. The percentage of people who said they don't know if it's a sin increased to 17 percent.
Mirroring public opinion across the nation, Tuscaloosa residents are split on the subject.
"It's a sin," said Freddie Robinson, 53, a Tuscaloosa resident and a Baptist. "It's in the Bible. It's written in stone. America is trying to become Sodom and Gomorrah."
Molly Lusian, 40, a Tuscaloosa resident and an Episcopalian, said homosexuality is not a sin because it's genetic.
"At this point science has completely and totally proven that homosexuality isn't a choice that someone makes," Lusian said. "It's a genetic predisposition. People are either genetically predisposed to it or not. If you don't have a choice in the behavior, it can't be a sin, no more than people having blue eyes is a sin.
"I think one of the most offensive parts of the argument is that people say Christians believe X. There's 30-plus Christian denominations. The Episcopal Church since 1976 has declared that homosexuals were children of God."
Tamar Wilson, a 28-year-old Tuscaloosa resident and a Full Gospel Baptist, said homosexuality is still a sin because it's always been a sin. She said people can't choose what is and isn't sin; that's for God to decide, and he's already made his decision, which is written in the Bible.
"Any sin that was stated as a sin in the Bible is still a sin today," Wilson said. "That list has not changed. People probably feel that it's no longer a sin because it's tolerated more.
"I don't have a problem with that, because Scripture says (in Jeremiah 31:3) 'with love and kindness have I drawn thee.' So a lot of people within the church feel that if I push homosexuals away, they'll turn from the church, but if I accept them for who they are, they'll possibly be set free."
David DuPuy, a 34-year-old atheist and Tuscaloosa resident, said he doesn't believe in the concept of sin. But if sin were real, based on religion, homosexuality would be a sin, he said.
"Being that I am an atheist and therefore not religious, whether or not it's a sin doesn't affect me, but from my religious background -- I grew up Methodist -- it is a sin," DuPuy said. "It's kind of a non-issue, but from my religious studies, I'd say it is a sin."
Noah Cannon, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama majoring in telecommunications, is president of Spectrum, the university's LGBTQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer and Allied/Asexual) student organization. He said he grew up Presbyterian but no longer claims a religion.
He identifies his sexual orientation only as, in his words, "queer," a former derogatory word against homosexuals that many younger people in the LGBTQA+ community have started calling themselves in recent years in an attempt to turn the word from a negative into a positive, and as a catch-all phrase describing LGBTQA+ people as a group.
Cannon didn't answer the question because he said he doesn't believe in sin.
"I am a proponent of LGBT rights, and I think those numbers are indicative of a large social movement in this country of people accepting LGBT," he said. "Within the past year, there's been a lot of prominent public figures, most notably President (Barack) Obama and Vice President (Joe) Biden, who've accepted same-sex relationships. …