Americans are changing their minds about the acceptability of a wide range of moral issues. Are we becoming more tolerant?
Or, are we losing our way when it comes to firm ideas about right and wrong?
Generally, Americans are shifting “left” on a host of issues, according to Gallup. Consider, for example, attitudes about gay or lesbian relations. In general, do you feel such relations are morally acceptable or morally wrong?
More than six of ten American adults (63%) say that gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable, according to Gallup’s survey last month. In 2001, only four of ten Americans (40%) said the same thing. That’s a 23 percentage point difference. By survey research standards, that’s a whopping change.
How about the issue of having a baby outside of marriage? Would you say it’s morally acceptable or morally wrong? Today, 61% of Americans say it’s morally acceptable. In 2002, the figure was 45%. The difference is 16 percentage points
How about the issue of sex between an unmarried man and woman—morally acceptable or morally wrong? In 2015, 68% of Americans say it’s morally acceptable, compared to 53% in 2001. This is an increase of 15 percentage points.
These are three of the 16 different issues that Gallup asked about. We’ll talk about the full set of issues this week, but I started today with these three—gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of wedlock, and sex between an unmarried man and woman—because these three experienced the biggest changes over the years.
Have your ideas about the moral acceptability of these three issues changed or stayed the same over time?
What do you make about the general shift to the “left” on so many issues?
Are we becoming more tolerant—or losing our moral bearings?
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