May 31, 2015

Americans Shifting Left On These Key Moral Issues

According to a new Gallup survey, Americans are more likely than ever to consider key issues morally acceptable.
From Gallup:
Americans are more likely now than in the early 2000s to find a variety of behaviors morally acceptable, including gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage and sex between an unmarried man and woman.
Moral acceptability of many of these issues is now at a record-high level.

This latest update on Americans’ views of the moral acceptability of various issues and behaviors is from Gallup’s May 6-10 Values and Beliefs survey. …Gallup has tracked these moral issues in this format since the early 2000s.
The upward progression in the percentage of Americans seeing these issues as morally acceptable has varied from year to year, but the overall trend clearly points toward a higher level of acceptance of a number of behaviors. …
More Americans now rate themselves as socially liberal than at any point in Gallup’s 16-year trend, and for the first time, as many say they are liberal on social issues as say they are conservative.
Key trends in Americans’ views of the moral acceptability of certain issues and behaviors include the following:
The substantial increase in Americans’ views that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable coincide with a record-high level of support for same-sex marriage and views that being gay or lesbian is something a person is born with, rather than due to one’s upbringing or environment.
The public is now more accepting of sexual relations outside of marriage in general than at any point in the history of tracking these measures, including a 16-percentage-point increase in those saying that having a baby outside of marriage is morally acceptable, and a 15-point increase in the acceptability of sex between an unmarried man and woman. Clear majorities of Americans now say both are acceptable.

Acceptance of divorce and human embryo medical research are also up 12 points each since 2001 and 2002, respectively.
Polygamy and cloning humans have also seen significant upshifts in moral acceptability — but even with these increases, the public largely perceives them as morally wrong, with only 16% and 15% of Americans, respectively, considering them morally acceptable. …
Americans are becoming more liberal on social issues, as evidenced not only by the uptick in the percentage describing themselves as socially liberal, but also by their increasing willingness to say that a number of previously frowned-upon behaviors are morally acceptable.

Gallup seems to downplay the 16% of Americans that view polygamy as morally acceptable as “a small minority.” Of course, technically, this characterization is correct, but it overlooks the drastic and dangerous trend toward moral acceptance. Nearly 1 out of 5 people support polygamy! That is no small thing.
One bright spot in the survey, it seems, is that Americans still continue to view adultery as morally unacceptable, as only 8% of respondents view affairs in a positive light. That 8% must represent fans of The Huffington Post.
Another bright spot is that Americans still seem to believe that right and wrong exist. Perhaps we are not as far gone in moral relativism as the times might suggest. But that is of little comfort when the content or substance of that morality has gone so very far askew.

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