American Morality: 1987 & 2014

moralityCNN recently conducted a poll of American morality similar to the one conducted by Time Magazine in 1987.  When the statistics are placed side-by-side, one can see significant signs of change over the past 27 years.  Overall:

In 1987, 7 out of the 8 actions surveyed were considered by the majority of Americans to be morally wrong. Now, only 3 of the behaviors are thought to be morally wrong by a majority (being married and having sex with someone else, cheating on taxes, and having an abortion).

Moral or Not?

The 8 actions included in the survey are

  1. being married and having sex with someone else
  2. cheating on your taxes
  3. having an abortion
  4. engaging in homosexual behavior
  5. looking at a pornographic magazine
  6. smoking marijuana
  7. living with someone when you’re not married
  8. drinking alcoholic beverages

So What?

It is important to note just how significant these changes are, especially given the shift happened in just over a quarter of a century.  The two items with the greatest change are

  • smoking marijuana: 75% viewed such as morally wrong in 1987 compared to 35% in 2014 (change of 35%)
  • engaging in homosexual behavior: 82% viewed such as morally wrong in 1987 compared to 50% in 2014 (change of 32%)

It is also important to note that some things have not changed much at all.  Adultery and tax fraud were at the top of the list in the 1980s and remain there today.

  • How have your views on these issues changed since 1987 (or, if you were not yet an adult in 1987: how have your views changed since age 18)?
  • What are the implications of these significant shifts in what most Americans perceive as moral for the ministry and mission of your local congregation?

 

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