For all the chest beating and wailing and carrying on about the Obama administration's contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, you'd think that this country was embroiled in a coast to coast battle that pits a staunch moral majority against a small, active tide of unstoppable vaginas demanding sexual satisfaction and threatening the very fabric of society. But you'd be wrong.
A new Gallup poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly find hormonal birth control moral, and they're much more likely to find it moral than other American institutions like divorce and the death penalty. The poll showed that even Catholics, they of the institutions that just filed a big lawsuit against the feds for forcing Catholics to go against their morals, believe that birth control is moral at a rate of 82% (their opinions on what the role the government should play in mandating birth control is more divided). The rest of the American population is 90% totally cool with birth control being used; 89% of the overall population believes that birth control is morally acceptable. Those numbers are pretty impressive, as it's hard to get 9 out of 10 people to agree on anything, except maybe Jon Hamm's handsomeness. I mean, even dentists can't all agree on what toothpaste best promotes both sufficient whiteness and overall oral health. Birth control is basically the Crest toothpaste of moral issues. It's got an approval rating about 8 times higher than the US Congress! Birth control for President!
As a point of comparison, only 67% of Americans polled said that they believe that divorce is morally acceptable, and only 64% believe that gambling is A-OK. Animal fur wearing gets the thumbs up from 60% of poll respondents, slightly more than find medical testing on human embryonic stem cells morally acceptable (58%).
Where Americans start to resemble the Puritanical judgment machines we've all grown to know and love/tolerate is with sexual issues unrelated to birth control. Only 58% think that premarital sex is morally acceptable, the same percentage that believes the death penalty is okay (cry). Gay and lesbian relationships get the thumbs up from 54% of people Gallup surveyed, which is encouraging in that more than half of Americans find same sex relationships to be moral, but discouraging in that 42% of people still find them immoral. Abortion was only deemed morally correct by 38% of people, but it beat out (or off) pornography, which 64% of people say they find morally wrong (lots of crying while masturbating in the good old US of A). The least morally acceptable? Extramarital affairs — only 7% of people say that they're morally acceptable.
So maybe the Catholic Church is barking up the wrong tree, here. If they wanted to stop hemorrhaging lifeblood like an arrow-perforated saint, they'd campaign to erect barriers between the people and something less universally accepted, and they'd stop backing ridiculous "personhood" initiatives. They'd try to stop divorce, or the death penalty, or, hell, even fur wearing. It's clear now that the Church's response to the Affordable Care Act and other issues relating to contraception isn't a reflection of the will of its members at all, but rather an attempt to force the government to be the muscle for a religious institution peddling a message that has failed to resonate with even its own parishioners.
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