Americans are paradoxically critical of the nation’s moral values and accepting of some non-traditional family values.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans characterized the nation’s moral values as “poor” and 41 percent said the state of moral values is “only fair.” Only 18 percent ranked the situation as “good” or “excellent.”

Weekly church attendees had an even more negative perspective about the nation’s moral climate. Gallup reported that 52 percent of active church members ranked moral conditions as poor.

Women held a more pessimistic viewpoint than men with 45 percent calling the situation poor, compared to 33 percent of men.

Americans 18-to-29 years of age were less critical of the moral condition. Only 28 percent saw the situation as poor, while 24 percent said it was good or excellent.

Some 67 percent of Americans said the nation’s values are deteriorating.

Paradoxically, Americans said some non-traditional family issues were morally acceptable. For example, 63 percent of Americans said divorce was morally acceptable, compared to 28 percent who said it was morally wrong.

“Sex between an unmarried man and woman” was morally acceptable to 53 percent of those polled, but morally wrong to 42 percent. Only 45 percent ranked as wrong “having a baby outside of marriage.”

Half of Americans said physician-assisted suicide was acceptable, compared to 44 who rejected it as morally wrong.

Americans said the death penalty was morally acceptable, but suicide was morally wrong.

Gallup’s random national sampling was conducted May 6-9, 2002.

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