Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on two recent Gallup polls:

Two fascinating Gallup polls have been released this month on the subject of morality. I will address the sexual issues that were surveyed.

Americans believe the following are morally acceptable: birth control (91%); divorce (73%); sex between an unmarried man and woman (69%); gay or lesbian relations (63%); having a baby outside of marriage (62%); abortion (43%); sex between teenagers (36%); pornography (36%); polygamy (17%); extramarital affairs (9%). These findings were posted May 11.

These percentages were never higher for birth control, divorce, gay or lesbian relations, having a baby out of wedlock, pornography, and polygamy. The one piece of good news is on abortion: 49% say it is morally wrong.

Findings from May 22 show that 81% of the public says the state of moral values is “only fair” or “poor.” Is the state of moral values getting worse? According to 77% of the public, the answer is yes.

“Even liberals,” Gallup says, “who seemingly should be pleased with the growing number of Americans who agree with their point of view on the morality of prominent social issues, are more likely to say things are getting worse than getting better.”

There are a number of things going on here that command our attention.

Americans are increasingly non-judgmental about sexual relations between consenting adults, but they are not happy with the state of moral values. This paradox suggests that more Americans are morally challenged than ever before.

To cite one issue, it is one thing to say that having a baby outside of marriage is morally acceptable, quite another to say it is a good thing. There’s the rub: Most Americans know someone who is in that situation and don’t want to appear condemnatory, but they also recognize that this is not a good condition to be in, either for the mother or the child.

We need to be mature about this. If we want more of something, we offer rewards and incentives; if we want less, we employ negative sanctions and stigmatize. This is a sociological truism.

For example, we don’t have a problem stigmatizing smokers, and as a result fewer are smoking today than was true a half century ago when smoking was socially acceptable. We want to reduce out-of-wedlock births, but we don’t want to stigmatize the mother or the child (the father usually escapes sanctions). The result is we have a higher rate of out-of-wedlock births than we did a half century ago when such a condition was socially unacceptable.

It is our immaturity that accounts for our morally challenged condition. As long as we reject the stick of stigma to curb conditions that we deplore, there will be little progress in stemming them.

Liberals are the most morally confused of any segment of the population. They are delighted that their “tolerant” views on sexuality have caught on with most Americans, but they are nonetheless unhappy with the state of moral values.

They want to have it both ways—more liberal attitudes on sexuality and less moral problems—but they cannot. Not until they connect the dots and realize that the attitudes which they promote engender the behaviors that they deplore, will progress be made. As usual, liberals get it wrong.

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  1. Most of America is not Catholic and a huge “denomination” (a secular euphemism) in this country is now “ex-Catholic”. In the 1960s, the trend was heading the other way. By the turn of this century, had demographic patterns held, America would be a majority Catholic nation today.

    What happened? (Oh wait? Something to do with the era of 1962-65, right? I may just have a notion of what it was….. thinking… thinking…

    50+ years of clerical and religious revolution = increased messianic talmudism in public governance and economics = PC indoctrination and enforcement = this, our current mess.

  2. As absurd as it sounds, Christianity and Christian values are prohibited from being taught in the nation’s public schools by judicial activism of the Supreme Court, so for most Americans they are not being instructed in Christian morality as part of their education. After Vatican II a cabal of progressive modernists at the Land O’Lakes conference decided that the best way for Catholic colleges and universities to increase in status and prestige was to imitate the example of secular institutions. The result of this was a lobotomy on Catholic colleges and universities which suppressed Catholic identity and Catholic teachings. So very few Americans receive ethical training in Christian moral doctrines at any advanced level. They are also brainwashed by the media and by secular humanists in education in the ideologies of moral relativism, positivism, and scientific materialism, led to the absurd belief that Darwinism has disproven Christianity and theism. This secularist narrative was part of the last presidential election and featured prominently at the hysteria of the recent March for Science. The retarded level of this discourse can be astonishing at times. The result is the cultural wasteland of mass entertainment and secular culture.

    So where are the modernist bishops of the USCCB? They want your taxes to be higher.

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