Polling organization Gallup has just released some fascinating statistics on how Americans ideas about immorality have changed over the past twelve years. Those who consider homosexuality immoral are now in the minority. But other kinds of moral outrage never change.
Below, you can see a chart tracking the percent that moral opinions change over time. What's fascinating here is that we can see how current political changes have affected moral systems. Homosexuality has become more acceptable in mainstream media, and gay marriage has been legalized in many states and countries. Possibly as a result, fewer Americans consider gay and lesbian people to be immoral — or, at least, they aren't comfortable admitting that to a pollster.
Another fascinating chart shows the raw percentages of on each issue — how many people think they are immoral vs. how many don't.
One of the interesting features of these trend data is Americans' steady and overwhelming disapprobation of married men and women having an affair, with more than nine in 10 continuing to say this is morally unacceptable, within two points of where it was in 2001. Having an affair thus remains at the bottom of the list of morally acceptable behaviors measured, as it was in 2001.
I also find it incredibly odd that 83% of people rank cloning and polygamy (consensual marriages of more than two people) as immoral — the highest ranking for immorality of any category other than having an affair. Worse than the death penalty and abortion, both of which are far more incendiary issues in the U.S. today. Watch out, Raelians!
Read more via Gallup (h/t Doug Henwood)