A recent Gallup Poll shows that more than 9 in 10 Americans say they believe in God, a percentage that hasn’t much changed over the past 70 years that Gallup has been asking the question. Another recent Gallup Poll, however, shows the degree of moral confusion facing those same respondents.
According to Gallup’s 2011 Values and Beliefs poll, Americans surprisingly describe a whole host of social issues as “morally acceptable.”
Among the issues that a majority of Americans find “morally acceptable,” are: having a baby outside of marriage (54%), pre-marital sex (60%), medical research using stem cells from human embryos (62%), gambling (64%), the death penalty (65%), divorce (60%), and homosexual relations (56%).
Welcome to our “brave new world.”
For the first time, in the years that Gallup has conducted this poll, more respondents described homosexual relations as morally acceptable (56%) than those who described it as morally wrong (39%). Just four years ago, 49% of Americans still described homosexual relations as morally wrong in the Gallup Values and Beliefs poll. No doubt, homosexual activists, publicists, the mainstream media, and TV and movie personnel, who have worked so long and hard to attempt to normalize this behavior, are rejoicing.
Readers will be glad to know, however, that there are still a few things which most Americans still find morally wrong. They include the following: abortion (51%), cloning animals (62%), pornography (66%), suicide (80%), cloning humans (84%), polygamy (86%), and having an affair (91%).
The single area with the greatest amount of disparity was physician-assisted suicide. 48% find it morally wrong; 45% describe it as morally acceptable.
What the numbers demonstrate, more than anything, is the high degree of moral confusion which exists among Americans. They reject abortion, but see nothing wrong with destroying pre-born humans for the sake of their stem cells. They object to viewing nude images, but do not have a problem with seeing their unmarried partner nude, or having sexual relations with their unmarried partner. They still reject polygamy and extra-marital affairs, but embrace pre-marital sex and homosexual relations.
At the heart of it, all of the confusion points to a profound desacralization. What, if anything, do we still hold as Sacred? There are, it seems, few things that Americans hold as sacred – not human life, not marriage between one man and one woman, neither the unborn, nor the aged, nor the ill. The percentage of Americans who oppose the cloning of animals is equal to the percentage that supports the use of embryonic stem-cells for medical reasons. Greater respect is given to animal life than human life. Animal life, and recycling, and no tobacco. These are the things we hold as “sacred.”
Nine out of 10 of us might say that we believe in God, but so very few of us live as we believe. Few allow their belief to penetrate enough to change their behavior.
As is so often the case, the Church, in her great wisdom, predicted our present-day confusion.
“Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control,” wrote Pope Paul VI, in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). “Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”
Let them consider indeed….