Moral Values Then VS. Moral Values Now

Like some old crotchety dude sitting on his front porch bitching about how things were so much better back in his day I find myself wondering about the changing values of America and the results therein. It really is interesting how far we’ve come/gone from whence we came. But unlike the geezer on the porch I don’t long for times past and think, or at least say, that things were so much better back then. In some cases and instances they were better. In other instances we’re better off today.

Travel with me through the time machine and lets take a look back at how things used to be and what the changes have produced.

This protester was on his own and letting Minn...

How it used to be:

Gay marriage? Why yes. Everybody and I mean everybody was in favor of every marriage being gay. Used to be gay meant something completely different. In today’s context the question of Gay Marriage wasn’t a question at all. It was absurd. I mean really? A man marrying another man? A woman marrying another woman? What the heck are you talking about?

How it is today:

Currently six of the United States allow Gay Marriage, and the momentum clearly shows that list to be growing. Even in states that don’t currently recognize Gay Marriage homosexual domestic partnerships are not uncommon. And last week the President said he was in favor of legalizing Gay Marriage, though he hedged his bets for political reasons and said it was a issue for each state to resolve. (Once again Obama showing the conviction and backbone of a jellyfish)

The results:

Its way to early to offer an opinion on the evolving allowance for Gay Marriage. But its not too early to offer an opinion about the increasingly open subject of being Gay. As recently as 20 years ago it was a big deal when someone was “outed”, revealed publicly that they were homosexual. Now its not even a term people use. Now we discuss with serious straight faces gay children, as if an innocent child knows anything about sex or has an attraction one way or another. More open homosexuality goes hand in hand with more open sexuality.

The love of my life

How it used to be:

Living in sin, unwed! Used to be the idea of living with someone (of the opposite sex) with whom you weren’t married was completely taboo. You just didn’t do it! Because if you did…then…you could be…having sex!!!! OMG!

How it is today:

Really? This was an issue for…who? Men and women co-habitate all the time and its simply not an issue with anyone. And yes…they’re having sex.

The results: 

Certainly you have more children born to unwed parents. We’ve also seen a steady decline in the number of people getting and staying married. According to a Pew Research study published December 2011 shows that barely half of all adults are married, and the age at which both brides and grooms get married for the first time is at a record high age; 26.5 for brides, 28.5 for grooms. In 1960 70% of all adults in the U.S. 18 and older were married. Given that repeated studies show people tend to be happier, more successful, and less likely to be poor when married its hard to see this trend as anything but bad.

The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (w...

How it used to be:

Illegal drugs were thought to be dangerous, even marijuana, and addictive, even marijuana. But ever since most states started making various drugs illegal in the 1920s and 30s people have continued to use marijuana, cocaine, heroine, amphetamines and other drugs. Even Franklin Roosevelt‘s doctor gave the President small doses of cocaine to clear up our Chief Executive’s sinuses.

But in the Hardy Boys and later Happy Days world of the 50s, 60s and 70s drug use was for the people on the edges of society.

How it is today:

Because of our more open and informed society there is a perception that more and more of us use illegal drugs. Studies aren’t completely helpful on whether this is true or not. But certainly we’re more accepting of those who do. Legalizing marijuana efforts have been in existence since it became illegal in every U.S. state by the 1930s. They now seem to have more traction, with more and more states allowing for the medical use of marijuana.

A Gallup Poll in 1969  found that 4% of Americans age 12 or older had used pot. By 1977 that number was 24%. In a study reported by CNN in September last year 9% of Americans report using illegal drugs. It’s important to note the difference in the two things just written. The ’69 and ’77 studys merely reported on cannabis and whether a person had EVER tried it. The 2011 study reported on ALL illegal drugs and reported on how many people regularly use them.

About 200-million people use illegal drugs worldwide.

The results:

Illegal drugs cause 250,000 deaths worldwide each year. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that’s compared to 2.25-million killed from alcohol use, and 5.1-million killed from use of tobacco. But 2.1 million years of life were lost due to drug use, more than the 1.5 million lost due to alcohol, likely because drug deaths generally affect younger people, while alcohol deaths tend to occur in middle-aged and elderly people.


How it used to be:

Sex and all things related to it were private, not to be talked about publicly, and often not even between two consenting adults involved in sex. I’ve done enough genealogical research and seen enough episodes of NBC’s “Who do You Think You Are?” to know sexual relations involving non-married and married couples happened plenty in decades prior to the sexual revolution. But, again, it just wasn’t something people talked about.

Mike and Carol Brady of the 1970s TV show The Brady Bunch, were the first couple shown on TV in the same bed together. The show aired from September 1969 to March 1974.

How it is today:

A female friend recently happily admitted to me over lunch that she had another “friend with benefits”; referring to the now accepted practice of having a “Fuck-buddy“. For those not in the know this would be someone with whom you have sex regularly but are not married to and don’t even consider a boyfriend or girlfriend. There are two things to consider here:

1. That “friends with benefits” is so increasingly common that its an expression at all.


2. That a female friend happily and willingly admits to being engaged in such a relationship.

Both issues serve as metaphors for how sex is considered not such a big deal by so many people today.

A couple years ago while on a beer drinking expedition with several friends the discussion of sexual partners came up. I revealed that I’d had fewer than 10 sexual partners in my entire life. The reaction from my friends was equivalent to me saying I was a 50 year old virgin. They teased me incessantly the rest of the night. Of the three one was 26 years old, another was in his mid-30s, and another was 50 years old. The older guys were married but had been single for much of their life. Along with the 26 year old they all claimed to have had “well over” 100 sexual partners in their lives. The fact that I was dating my wife at age 20, and had remained happily married to her for over 25 years didn’t change the fact that in their eyes I was fresh and innocent.

But that being my perspective…sex is still a big deal to me. Were I to ever engage in it with someone other than my wife I can’t imagine it being merely casual. It would effect me very strongly emotionally.

The result:

The Centers for Disease Control says 41% of all births these days are to unwed mothers. Black babies are born to unwed mothers 72% of the time.

As The Heritage Foundation determined in a recent study publicly championed during the Presidential campaign of Rick Santorum if a person graduates high school, has a job, and waits until being married before having children they have a 98% likelihood of NEVER being in poverty throughout their entire lives.

This just in: sex creates babies! Of course there are all kinds of contraceptives and medical procedures designed to keep a woman from getting pregnant. But most of them are dependent on the user actually using the contraceptive. And we know from recent news stories that money is not an issue. Contraception is easily acquired in this country. But yet we still keep having babies in less than optimal circumstances.

And the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases is a national crisis according to the Center for Disease Prevention. There are over 19-million STD infections in this country costing the U.S. health care system over $17-Billion each year. 

So a more open society on the subject of sex has done….what? Created more unwanted pregnancy, more unwanted children, and more diseases; including AIDS. The positives, besides the fact that sex is fun and great in so many ways? Well, I don’t know. What do YOU think?

Many other things have changed from way back when until now. But these have been in the news a lot lately, AND I honestly believe these are the big ones.

Brunswick Church (Presbyterian), known locally...

How it used to be:

Roman Catholics make up the most populous church in America. In 1955 75% of Catholics attended church weekly. According to Gallup only 42% of those who claimed a Protestant faith attended church weekly in 1955. Twenty-percent of Americans never attended church, mosque, or synagogue.

How it is today:

According to a Gallup Poll Catholic’s weekly church attendance has leveled off over the past 15 years, to about 45%. Protestant church attendance climbed slightly since 1955 to 45%. Twenty percent of Americans never go to church, a percentage that has remained unchanged for nearly 60 years (despite constant efforts by atheists to make church-going seem like the act of crazy people).

Perhaps not surprising is the fact that those who call themselves Conservative attend church more than any of 28 named sub-groups; and of those 28, Liberals attend church the least.

The result:

Other than Catholics the percentage of people attending church has not changed much in nearly 60 years. But the drop-off from those affiliated with the Catholic church has been dramatic; and since it is the most populous church in the country such a drop-off can’t be ignored.

Is it correct to say that those who are more likely to use drugs and advocate their legalization, those who advocate Gay marriage, those more likely to live out-of-wedlock and have kids out of wedlock, and those advocating a more openly sexual world tend to be liberal more-so than they tend to be Conservative? If that assumption is true (and I think that generally speaking there is no doubt that its true) can it be too much of a surprise that these people are also more likely to not attend church?

A March 2012 Gallup poll indicates that those who go to church are happier, more often. Church attendees give to charities more readily, and lead more successful, fulfilling lives…generally speaking, according to a study published in Canada.

What I find shocking is that these figures need to be reported at all. It seems obvious to me, and has for a very long time.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.