The percentage of Americans who believe homosexuality is a sin has decreased significantly in a year, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

A November 2012 survey of adults in the United States found 37 percent affirm a belief that homosexual behavior is a sin — a statistically significant change from a September 2011 LifeWay Research survey asking the same question. At that time, 44 percent answered, “Yes.”

In contrast, the percentage of Americans who do not believe homosexuality is a sin remains nearly the same between the two surveys — 43 percent in September 2011 and 45 percent in November 2012 indicate this belief, with an increase in the percentage of those unsure of what they believe. Seventeen percent in the November 2012 survey said, “I don't know;” an increase of four percent over the September 2011 survey.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, pointed out halfway between the two polls President Barack Obama changed his pre-election position concerning gay marriage.

“The president's evolution on homosexuality probably impacted the evolution of cultural values - there is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year timeframe — though this was hardly a normal year on this issue,” Stetzer said.

The November 2012 survey also reveals Americans in the South (40 percent) are the most likely to select “Yes” to the question “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” as are Americans who attend religious services at least about once a week (61 percent), and those calling themselves “born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian” (73 percent).

Americans who never attend religious services are the most likely to say they do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin (71 percent).

These findings from LifeWay Research come as Pastor Louie Giglio on Jan. 10 withdrew from giving the benediction at President Obama's inauguration in the face of criticism regarding a 15-year-old sermon referencing homosexuality as a sin. Stetzer noted the connection, saying, “The culture is clearly shifting on homosexuality and this creates a whole new issue: How will America deal with a minority view, strongly held by Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and so many others?”

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