Americans are becoming more liberal in their moral values, if the latest Gallup “Values and Beliefs” survey is accurate. According to the early May polling of a little over one thousand adults across the United States, the views Americans hold on a core of moral issues “are the most left-leaning or permissive they have been to date,” the report stated.
Among the findings:
– 91 percent of those surveyed consider birth control to be morally acceptable.
– Divorce: 73 percent think it is okay, compared to 59 percent of respondents in 2001, when Gallup's “Values and Beliefs” survey was first conducted.
– Sex between an unmarried man and woman: 69 percent positive (53 percent in 2001).
– “Gay or Lesbian” relationships: 63 percent (40 percent in 2001).
– Having a baby outside of marriage: 62 percent (45 percent in 2001).
– Death penalty: 58 percent approved (63 percent on 2001).
– Doctor-assisted suicide: 57 percent approved (49 percent in 2001).
As for abortion, attitudes appear to be more or less the same as they were in 2001: 43 percent approve of abortion on demand in America today, compared to 42 percent 16 years ago. On a positive note, the Gallup poll found that 49 percent of Americans disapprove of abortion.
As for the implications of the survey, the Gallup pollsters concluded that “Americans have adopted more permissive views on matters of morality than they held at the beginning of the 21st century.... Some of this change reflects increased social tolerance, while some is attributable to generational changes.” As for the future, the researchers predicted that “U.S. opinions will continue on this path, as younger, more liberal generations replace older, more conservative ones in the U.S. population.”
Another recent survey, by the Southern Baptist Convention's Lifeway Research, showed that 81 percent of Americans are concerned about declining moral behavior in their country. A total of 46 percent of respondents said that they “strongly agree” with the statement — “I am concerned about declining moral behavior in our nation” — with only six percent saying they “strongly disagree” and another 13 percent saying they “disagree.”
Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell said the survey suggests that “we are shifting very fast from a world where right and wrong didn't change to a world where right and wrong are relative. We are not all on the same page when it comes to morality. And we haven't reckoned with what that means.”
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