Playboy magazine ushered in a sexual revolution when its first issue came off the press in 1953. A new “anything goes” mindset about sex was introduced. This sexual revolution gained more and more acceptance in the ’60s and ’70s during the Woodstock generation and the Vietnam War. More and more people began living together, and premarital sex was no longer considered taboo but was actually an accepted practice. Dysfunction in families began to grow as the numbers of divorces rose, unrestrained sexual liberties were expressed and fathers abandoned their families, opening the door to sexual identities being confused.
As a result, near the turn of the century, we began to see the gay lifestyle become legitimized in mainstream culture through two of the major mountains: arts and entertainment, and media. When actress Ellen DeGeneres kissed another woman on a national television sitcom in 1997, it became a tipping point in culture. This led to more open expression of gay-themed movies, including Brokeback Mountain, featuring two gay cowboys, and the 2008 movie Milk, which honored the gay rights movement and one of its pioneers in an attempt legitimize gay rights as the civil rights movement did for civil rights.
Even kids are not immune to the new onslaught of the gay agenda, as in October of 2007, a major character in the Harry Potter books and movies, Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and headmaster of Hogwarts, was revealed to be gay.
This is how the frog in the kettle gets hotter and hotter, until one day we wake up and realize we have totally lost the culture. Deception has taken root and become mainstream in the gay movement, convincing even churchgoers that maybe people are actually born gay. The estimated 3 percent of the population that is gay is now dictating what the remaining 97 percent should accept. This reveals the power of the media and arts and entertainment to shift public opinion by a small percentage of people operating at the top of these cultural channels.
There have been several tipping points in American society that are landmarks—where our frog felt the heat go up several degrees. In 1963, prayer in schools was ruled unconstitutional. This became a major tipping point in our nation. God made sure we knew it was this activity that began a decline in the moral fiber of our nation, as there is a very distinct declining curve that can be graphed off major societal ills that began to be evidenced since then.
• Premarital sex has increased 500 percent.
• Unwed pregnancy is up 400 percent.
• Sexually transmitted diseases are up 200 percent.
• Suicides are up 400 percent.
• SAT scores dropped 90 points from 1963–1980 (the lowest in the industrialized world).
• Single-parent families are up 140 percent.
• Violent crime is up 500 percent.
The Baby Boomer generation has not done a very good job during our spiritual watch over the nation. Ten years after prayer was banned in school, conservative Christians lost one of the most important battles when abortion was legalized in 1973, as the result of the famous Roe v. WadeSupreme Court case.
It’s Now Hard to Tell the Difference
UnChristian authors David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons conducted extensive research to determine our influence on culture as Christians. Their findings are disturbing:
“In virtually every study we conduct, representing thousands of interviews every year, born-again Christians fail to display much attitudinal or behavioral evidence of transformed lives. For instance, based on a study released in 2007, we found that most of the lifestyle activities of born-again Christians were statistically equivalent to those of non-born-again. When asked to identify their activities over the last thirty days, born-again believers were just as likely to bet or gamble, to visit a pornographic website, to take something that did not belong to them, to consult a medium or psychic, to physically fight or abuse someone, to have consumed enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk, to have used an illegal, nonprescription drug, to have said something to someone that was not true, to have gotten back at someone for something he or she did, and to have said mean things behind another person’s back. No difference.”
These findings are in contrast to what took place during the Roman Empire. We know that during that time, Christians took care of the terminally ill at the risk of their own lives and were such a testimony to the love and power of Christ in a life that they drew people into faith by their very different lifestyle. Constantine proclaimed Rome the Holy Roman Empire, not for political reasons, but merely to state the obvious of what was being demonstrated by the people. Christians transformed culture by the way they lived.
We are called to model what Christ taught: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20, NKJV).
How Failure in Marriage Got Us to This Place
In the last 50 years, the Christian evangelical church has allowed the value of the covenant of marriage to be exchanged for a contract of marriage. We no longer honor the marital covenant, and we make it easy for marriages to break up and reproduce the same pain through remarriage, which also violates Scripture. There is no longer shame for divorcing or remarrying in the church. The problem has become epidemic, and so divorce has become a manufacturing mechanism for dysfunction in society. Consequently, the church has lost its moral authority to speak on this issue. Also, the failure of the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse contributes to the failed authority of the Catholic Church.
We have compounded this by making homosexuality the unpardonable sin by judging and condemning those in this lifestyle. A friend of mine who was delivered from the gay lifestyle said to me one time, “If there was a divorce rate of less than 5 percent, you would not be talking about gay issues.” It would be a non-issue. That’s because healthy marriages produce healthy children with healthy identities.
Danny Wallace, a friend and the author of MASKquerade, which describes his journey to freedom from a gay lifestyle, and who speaks internationally on the topic, shares his insights about the issue:
“Homosexuality is what it is in this country because those of us who carry the beacon of hope for ‘all’ broken people have stood against the sin rather than ‘for’ the answer. We have the same problem in every instance where we have chosen to do the same. Abortion is no different. We were caught broadside by the onslaught of changing legislation because those of us with the answer were concentrating on the ‘right or wrong’ of the law while ignoring the brokenness within these young mothers. The same will stand to be historically true of homosexuality and gay marriage. I think that you and I both know that in a very short time period, gay marriage will be legal in all 50 states. In a very short period of time, this will be a continued religious argument, but nonetheless … it will be signed, sealed, delivered and done.”
There’s only one way to deal with the root problem, and that is to heal marriages and return to covenant commitments in marriage. Only then will we see a reduction in the gay population.
A 2009 report on the state of marriage in America was published by the Institute for American Values in America. In this report, we got a snapshot of the health of families and marriages in America.
Over the last 40 years, marriage has become less common and more fragile, and the proportion of children raised outside intact marriages has increased dramatically. Between 1970 and 2008, the proportion of children living with two married parents dropped from 85 percent to 66.7 percent, according to census data. About three-quarters of children living with a single parent live with a single mother.
These important changes in family structure stem from two fundamental changes in U.S. residents’ behavior regarding marriage: increases in unmarried childbearing and high rates of divorce. More than a third of all U.S. children are now born outside of wedlock (39.7 percent), 71.6 percent for African American babies and 27.8 percent for whites and other ethnic groups.
The divorce rate in America is 45–50 percent for first marriages, 60–67 percent for second marriages, and 70–73 percent for third marriages, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Mo.
“Sixty-five percent of young adults whose parents divorced had poor relationships with their fathers (compared to 29 percent from non-divorced families),” according to a study on family life released by 16 of the top scholars on the importance of marriage.
The Washington Times describes the impact of divorce on children: “More than half of American teens have grown up with parents who ‘rejected each other,’ which bodes ill for the nation’s future leadership, productivity, wealth, and well-being, says a new national report on American families. Only 45 percent of teens, aged 15–17, have grown up from birth with their married, biological parents, says the new US Index of Belonging and Rejection.”
A friend of mine who came out of the gay lifestyle wrote a book about his experience and now speaks around the world on this issue. He explained to me that you will never find a person who is gay who has a healthy relationship with their father. He believes that in 100 percent of the cases, being gay is rooted in the failure of a father to love that child and validate him or her during their growing-up years. Wounds can happen so early that a person can believe they were born that way.
One thing is for sure: God never made a person gay. That would violate what the Bible teaches. I have also known some situations where a young woman was hurt so deeply by a man that she turned to females for comfort, which led to a lesbian lifestyle.
Divorce is the entry point of dysfunctional and wounded lives that often lead to aberrant behaviors in human beings in each new generation. Unless there is a stopgap somewhere in the cycle, more and more expressions of aberrant behavior will be the result until we end up like the Roman Empire and disintegrate from within.
The church and the Christian Right exhibit hidden hypocrisies, evidenced by their intensity against this particular sin, though they are very soft on divorce, adultery, greed and materialism. Somehow this one sin gets isolated above the others that are equally damaging to society.
Os Hillman is president of Marketplace Leaders and author of Change Agent and TGIF Today God Is First.