A national poll shows that while Americans are still holding on to some traditional moral values, they have validated immoral behaviors that are self-satisfying.
The poll, conducted by Gallup, revealed 91 percent of respondents considered extramarital affairs immoral. In addition to cheating spouses, polygamy, cloning humans, suicide and pornography all ranked as the top five immoral "sins" among Americans.
A majority of respondents also ranked abortion as an immoral behavior.
However, more respondents found cloning animals immoral (62 percent) than doctor assisted suicide (48 percent). A narrow 45 percent of Americans believe assisted suicide is morally acceptable. Cloning of animals also outweighed the moral importance of embryonic stem cell research (only 30 percent found it immoral), fornication (36 percent), gambling (31 percent) and divorce (23 percent).
The poll shows what Richard Land, president of Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says is a deep-rooted problem with Americans' sense of priorities.
Land says Americans' moral values are skewed to focus less on their obligations and responsibilities and more on their "supposed rights and privileges."
Americans’ supposed right to be loved has led a majority of respondents to value divorce (69 percent), homosexual relations (56 percent), sex outside of marriage (60 percent) and even having children outside of marriage (54 percent) as morally acceptable behaviors, according to the poll.
Land disagrees with the popular sentiment. He states that morals begin at home with the family. Yet, "Adults continue to convince themselves that they have the right to walk out on their promises and obligations to their spouses and their children in search of their own self-fulfillment,” he noted.
When adults shirk their responsibilities as a husband, wife, father and mother, the effects seep into society, Land said.
The federal government spends millions of dollars in social and economic programs to correct the effects of moral depravity such as institutionalized poverty, crime and corruption, he explained. But he believes there is no substitution for a family with a wedded father and mother.
Land described putting self-fulfilling behavior over the biblically moral responsibility to family as "narcissistic,” “selfish,” “destructive,” and “self-idolatry."
The new poll follows another Gallup poll released last week showing decreases in the number of Americans who believe America's moral values are poor and are getting worse.
While more Americans believe that the country's morality is poor and lacking, the Thursday poll shows that the percentage of those who believe the overall state of moral values in the U.S. is poor has dropped seven percentage points to 38 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who believe the country's morality is excellent or good has risen eight points to 23 percent.
Fewer Americans also believe the country's moral values are getting worse. Sixty-nine percent, down from 76 percent in 2010, say the state of moral values is worsening, while 22 percent, up from 14 percent, believe it's getting better.
Land told The Christian Post that those who believe that there is no problem with America's value system are part of the country's moral decline.
He believes that America's immoral culture is reaching a critical point.
"We're seriously broken and it's getting worse and we're reaching a crisis point where we're either going to have to restore traditional American values ... or we're going to see our society [disintegrate]," he summed.