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Religions’ Hold on Americans Continues to Slip

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

The US Supreme Court’s rulings in the Hobby Lobby and Greece, NY cases were clearly setbacks for seculars, but the general trend of American social attitudes is clearly in the secular direction, away from the clutches of organized religion. The rapid increase of the “nones,” (now 23%) and especially the dramatic rise of women “nones,” (now 43% of the "nones") provide ample evidence of this trend. But now there’s more.

There was a terrific article on the Gallup site on May 26th, 2015. The headline read: “Americans Continue to Shift Left on Key Moral Issues.”

The story concerned a 2015 poll of American adults’ attitudes on 16 moral issues. In this telephone survey, the interviewers asked:

“Next, I’m going to read you a list of issues. Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, for each one, please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong. How about – [RANDOM ORDER].”

The results of this survey, compared with the results of an identical survey 14 years ago, are shown at the bottom of this article. Nearly all of these social issues carry a great deal of religious baggage. That is, the religiously inclined are much more likely to judge these issues as morally unacceptable. I’m hoping that Gallup gathered some data on the religion of the survey respondents, but this initial article from the Gallup company did not include any such data.

Given the recent legalization of gay marriage in more and more states (and countries), it’s not surprising that the biggest shift in moral acceptability was in the matter of “gay or lesbian relations.” While only 40% found such relations morally acceptable in 2001, that percentage had risen to 63% in 2015. Other major shifts in moral acceptability were measured in “having a baby outside of marriage,” 45% to 61%, and “sex between an unmarried man and woman,” 53% to 68%.

In fact, in nearly every issue, the shift was toward greater tolerance of personal choice in the matter of morals, and away from religious dogma. The only issues where moral acceptability declined were “the death penalty” and “medical testing on animals.”

Frankly, I think these results are dramatic. I believe they show a broad shift in American social mores away from religious dogma and toward secularism. I say, “Amen, brother!”