U.S. adults are divided on whether an illegal act should always be considered an immoral act, according to YouGov report published April 3.
Respondents were presented with the question, “If something is illegal, do you think that necessarily means that doing it is immoral?” and they were asked to indicate if they feel it does or does not, or if they didn’t know.
A slim majority (52%) of all adults say “it does not,” with 29% saying “it does” and 20% unsure.
A more even divide was seen when respondents were asked, “If you considered an existing law to be unjust, do you think it would be moral or immoral to disobey it?” Among all U.S. adults, 38% say “it would be immoral to disobey it,” 31% say “it would be moral to disobey it” and 31% are not sure.
While a strong majority (78%) of all respondents believe in God (58%) or a higher power (20%), most (53%) say it isn’t necessary to believe in God or a higher power to be a moral person.
A plurality of all U.S. adults (39%) say people who believe in God, or a higher power, are “equally as moral” as those who do not, while 36% say those who believe “tend to be more moral” and 11% say they “tend to be less moral.” The remaining 15% did not know.
When asked their view of churches and religious organizations, a plurality of U.S. adults (47%) say they “strengthen morality in society,” while 26% say they “don’t make much difference,” 13% say they “weaken morality” and 14% are unsure.
Respondents who believe in God are most likely to say religious institutions “strengthen morality in society” (65% did so), while respondents who believe in a higher power are most likely to say they “don’t make much difference to morality in society” (49%), and respondents who don’t believe in God or a higher power are most likely to say they “weaken morality in society” (40%).