Just 23% of the public now agree with the statement that “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior,” while 72% disagree; when this question was first asked in 1987, public opinion was divided on the question, with 43% agreeing and 47% disagreeing. Responses to this question have become less conservative across the board: significant change has occurred in the views of conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, and religious and nonreligious people. For example, in 1987, 60% of white evangelicals believed that AIDS might be a punishment for immoral sexual behavior; today just 38% believe this. Similar changes have been seen among other religious groups as well. The changes on longitudinal measures about homosexuality reflect a major shift away from highly negative attitudes toward gays and support for punitive actions against gays. Read More
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