A recent poll by Public Religion Research Institute for Religion News Service blames the message of the church for the rise in teen suicides related to homosexuality. “The survey shows that a significant number of Americans are aware of and concerned about the negative impact of messages about homosexuality from places of worship, particularly with regard to gay and lesbian youth,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.
A plurality (43%) of Americans say the messages coming from places of worship are negative, and 4-in-10 Americans believe that these messages contribute “a lot” to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people. One-third (33%) of the public also believe that messages from religious bodies are contributing “a lot” to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth, and another third (32%) say these message contribute “a little;” only 21% say they do not contribute at all.
FACT: A September 2008 study by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality determined that the suicide rates among homosexuals is six times higher than the general population without regard to social stigma.
[D]oes pressure from society lead to mental health problems? Less, I believe, than one might imagine. The authors of the study done in The Netherlands were surprised to find so much mental illness in homosexual people in a country where tolerance of homosexuality is greater than in almost all other countries.
Another good comparison country is New Zealand, which is much more tolerant of homosexuality than is the United States. Legislation giving the movement special legal rights is powerful, consistently enforced throughout the country, and virtually never challenged. Despite this broad level of social tolerance, suicide attempts were common in a New Zealand study and occurred at about the same rate as in the U.S.
In his cross-cultural comparison of mental health in the Netherlands, Denmark and the U.S., Ross (1988) could find no significant differences between countries – i.e. the greater social hostility in the United States did not result in a higher level of psychiatric problems.
Watch for your local church to become the target of ‘hate speech’ laws as the media continues to cement the flawed perception that teens who struggle with sexual orientation are killing themselves, not because of deep-rooted psychological issues, but because the church refuses to deny the gospel by telling them it’s ok to follow your sinful passions. “Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”