I came across this article in the Vancouver Sun.
So I went to Angus Reid and got more detailed results.
1000 or so Americans and Canadians and about 2000 Brits were asked if each of the following were morally acceptable.
sexual relations between an unmarried man and woman
having a baby outside of marriage
medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos
sexual relations between two people of the same sex
doctor assisted suicide
the death penalty
medical testing on animals
buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur
using illegal drugs
married men and/or women having an affair
For the most part, Americans were less likely than the other two to find these activities morally acceptable. Now my problem with the survey is that I would have had a hard time with the word moral. At the same time, I realize that my answers might have differed depending on the phrasing. Do you find this morally acceptable is not the same as do you find this morally unacceptable.
Looking over the list, (and I won’t comment on them all), the only one that I find completely reprehensible is pedophilia. I don’t see how anybody could find that morally acceptable but apparently some did.
I am against the death penalty and I am not ready for human cloning or even animal cloning, and I think there is a moral (whatever I mean by that) issue at play there but my feelings are no where near as strong as they are when I hear of pedophiles.
I think polygamy is crazy and it is definitely a moral issue when young children are forced into a marriage but in that case, I see it as child abuse. Who am I to judge three or four consenting, adult women who for some reason think it perfectly fine to marry the same guy.
I would guess that the same people who find abortion morally unacceptable are the same people who would find having a baby outside of marriage morally unacceptable. I would find either decision incredibly hard and would support both.
While not a user of illegal drugs, I don’t find their use a moral issue. For example if I were asked if using illegal drugs was morally acceptable I would say yes while believing strongly that people should not be using them for health or social reasons. So taking the word moral out of the question changes my response.
And some of these - like divorce, contraception, sexual relations between consenting adults - I find surprising that significant numbers still find them morally unacceptable. On an individual basis I can see why people might be opposed but putting a universal moral judgement on them is, at least for me, going too far.