I’ve got to develop this further, but as of right now I’m saying that conservative evangelicals equate or define sin as non-conformity with whatever micro or macro community of which they may be a member. I think we all can agree that the sin du jour for our conservative brethren is homosexuality. Homosexuality, of course, transgresses the idealized 1950’s lifestyle, but I don’t think that explains the conservative fascination with it. I think it comes down to the fact that most people are either, at the very least, uncomfortable with it or just downright don’t like homosexuals. There is a strong existing bias in American society against homosexuals. Most people attracted by the right-wing in this country are not homosexual and don’t know any homosexuals, thus homosexuals are prone to demonization. Homosexuality makes a good scapegoat, all other so-called sins dissolve and disappear when they are compared to homosexuality. Divorce and adultery are easily forgiven and forgotten. There are too many divorcees and adulterers in conservative circles for those people to be demonized, other sexual sins are looked down on, of course, but they get no where near the opprobrium that homosexuality gets. The group must agree and be united when they demonize something, there is way too much resistance for the demonization of adultery and divorce. There is a lot of guilt, and that guilt must be placed somewhere, and not just somewhere, it must be placed somewhere outside the community. Denouncing members of your own community will not get you anywhere. The negativity of the community must be placed outside of the group. Homosexuals are a small, and for the most part, non-taboo minority. This is why homosexuality is the sin du jour. It easy to define us and them.
I will definitely be refining and expanding upon this idea and the relationship of sin and group conformity.