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Gallup recently released poll results showing that 7.2% of American adults identify as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual.” When Gallup first started measuring LGBT statistics in 2012, this number was 3.5%, which means that the LGBT community as a proportion of the U.S. population has doubled over the last ten years.
However, the poll displays a more nuanced result when this 7.2% of the population is broken down proportionally by age group. Only 1.7% of the Silent Generation, 2.7% of baby boomers, and 3.3% of Generation X identify as LGBT, which leaves the remainder of the U.S. population’s 7.2% to be made up by millennials and Generation Z: a significant 11.2% of the former and a staggering 19.7% of the latter. So according to Gallup’s numbers, not only is 1 or 2 in every 20 U.S. adults lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or “other LGBT,” but 1 in every 5 gen-z-ers is. We’ve come a long way over the last 50 years. Flash back to 1972, when the American Psychiatric Association was classifying homosexuality as a mental illness; now, in 2022, 1 in every 5 of young adults place themselves outside of the traditional heterosexual paradigm.
For some, this poll reflects an admirable shift in American culture. As society becomes more accepting and affirming of the lifestyle—celebrating it as an important aspect of a person’s identity and normalizing it to the younger generation—more and more of the nation’s young people go off to explore their sexualities in these sinful ways while they are young and impressionable and those who should be seeking help for this sexual disorder now feel legitimized in this broken lifestyle. Cathy Renna, the National LGBTQ Task Force communications director, seemed to convey this sentiment in her remarks to USA TODAY:
Who we are is rooted deeply in us and is something young people – growing up in a culture that has finally been able to tell them that they are aren’t alone [sic], that they are beautiful and perfect exactly as they are – will never turn back from now.
Sadly, however, Renna’s remark is truer than she might think. When young people grow up in a culture that tells them they are perfect “exactly as they are,” they might very well never turn back from it.
In Generation Z’s results, we now see the cumulative effects of the steady push to legalize, then normalize, then praise these sinful lifestyles. There’s a reason almost no one in the Silent Generation answered the Gallup poll as LGBT—they were all born before 1945, in a world which was not perfect by any means, but which was definitely more true to biblical standards of sexuality than ours is today. As the generations rolled on, the push to affirm the LGBT lifestyles got louder and louder, but it wasn’t until the most recent generations that we could really say that young people have “grown up” in such a sin-affirming world.
Most of us have a hard time imagining what the world would be like without cars, because we all grew up in a world saturated with them. We no longer think about whether they are beneficial or detrimental, as I’m sure many people did at the turn of the 20th century; we just accept them as a matter of fact, because they are an integral part of our world and they are here to stay. Likewise, I think many of the younger generations are now going to have a hard time imagining what the world would be like if heterosexual marriage were the universal norm. Vigorous debate does still persist right now, but if trends continue like they have been, then it’s going to be harder and harder to get people to believe the biblical paradigm. Perversion will be an integral part of our world and here to stay—or, as Renna put it, young people “will never turn back now.” For her movement, it’s a trend of liberation. But this is not liberty—this is bondage.
The Bible frighteningly describes how societies slip into this kind of sexual perversion—as a form of bondage, rather than a form of liberation. For those who want to see our nation avoid cultural self-destruction, this trend should bring us to our knees. Here’s the basic outline: God has made Himself plain to everyone, so that we are all without excuse if we try to deny Him (Rom. 1:19–20). Nevertheless, unbelievers refuse to acknowledge God; although they know God, they neither glorify Him as God nor are thankful to Him (Rom. 1:21).
So what is God’s response? Does God try to reveal Himself harder? Give people more signs? Make people think more clearly? No, the opposite is true. While God definitely extends His grace to many, and no one is beyond His saving power, Paul explains the natural trend of the unbelievers that refuse to glorify God: their thinking will become futile and their hearts will be darkened (Rom. 1:21). This is not liberation; this is debilitation. Even though they might claim to be wise—maybe even “woke” to all the injustices that no one else can see—unbelievers become fools. They exchange God’s glory for mere images (Rom. 1:22–23).
But the consequences don’t stop there. Not only does sin affect the mind, as unbelievers will claim to be wise while actually becoming fools, but rejection of God also affects sexuality. The very next step is that God gives them over—the same word used when Jesus predicted his betrayal—to sexual impurity, degrading their bodies (Rom. 1:24). They will exchange God’s truth for lies, and slip further into bondage. The unbelievers no longer serve God, but serve creation (Rom. 1:25).
This only spirals downwards, because God then gives them over—there’s that phrase again—to vile lusts (Rom. 1:26). And what are these vile lusts? Then come the chilling words:
For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error (Rom. 1:26–27, ESV).
It may sound cold to some, but here’s the harsh truth: homosexuality is not an immutable identity—it was never the way humans were ever supposed to be. Rather, when it is prevalent in a society, it is an enslaving consequence of rejecting God.
A society that openly accepts sin is far, far down the broad and wide road, and accordingly, Paul ends this passage by listing a series of evils, and then criticizing those who “not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32, ESV, italics mine). Which is what Renna, along with an increasingly vocal portion of our society, is now doing.
The increasing population proportion of the LGBT community and the promulgation of its acceptance are feeding each other in a vicious cycle. Renna hit the nail exactly on the head when she observed that a culture of acceptance will mean youth will never turn back. But that is precisely what is so frightening. Youth will never turn back if youth is enslaved by sexual perversion, having been “given over” to it as a consequence of sin. Our society is already far down the Romans 1 path that begins with rejecting God and ends in enslaving debauchery.
Only by a miracle of God can it be redeemed.
But our God is a God who answers prayer, and He is also a God of miracles.