Gallup ran a poll in May 2022 on Values and Beliefs: over 50% of Americans rated the overall state of moral values in the U.S. as “poor” and 37% gave a rating of “fair.” A little math reveals the sad truth that only 13% see U.S. moral values as “good” (12%) or “excellent” (1%).
In all fairness, partisanship plays a role. Conservatives are more likely to give a lower rating as the morals of the country seem to have fallen to a new low. What was unthinkable a few generations ago — honesty, respect for the rules of law, sanctity of life, sexual morality — are no longer being embraced by the majority of Americans, especially younger Americans as they stray from biblical truth to fine moral guidance, and “find themselves” by rejecting the traditional values that have defined Americans since our founding in 1776.
Fewer Americans make moral choices based on faith, and are heavily influenced by what they see and hear on screens — whether it’s on the big screen in movie theaters, on television, or the millions of mobile devices that have taken over our lives.
What we believe dictates how we act. As the culture around us breaks down, every time traditional values based on the Word of God or moral tradition are ignored, the world becomes a bit more troubling, angry and less safe.
Moral values are the foundation of our ability to judge between right and wrong. They are formed from a person’s life experience (and often subject to opinion). For instance, we know that murder is wrong, but we don’t believe that driving “slightly” over the speed limit is; we know lying is wrong, but gossip…that’s not just a bad thing.
Can we turn this around? Perhaps we can with the younger generation. We can help our children and grandchildren by teaching them the 10 Commandments and giving them certain books to read, such as Aesop’s Fables for the young ones or To Kill a Mockingbird for preteens.
Raising kids who know and love God is the only place to start if we expect to reverse the moral decline in America in our lifetime —or in the lifetime of our grandchildren.