(from FotF’s Pastor’s Weekly Briefing)

Cheating on your income taxes is almost as bad as cheating on your mate, and smoking pot isn’t as bad as drinking to excess. That’s what a cross section of Americans said in the Pew Research Center’s latest Social Trends study, released this week in Washington.

The study, which questioned 1,502 people, presented a blunt test of what Americans believe is moral by measuring the responses to 10 questions.

* At the top of the list, about 88 percent of respondents said married people having an affair was wrong.
* Second on the list, 79 percent said it was not moral to hold back in reporting income on your tax forms.
* Sixty-one percent said drinking too much alcohol was not moral, while 5 percent said it was okay.
* Fifty-two percent of respondents said that having an abortion would be morally wrong.
* Smoking marijuana was number five and exactly half of the respondents said it was morally wrong, which means more people oppose excessive drinking than pot smoking.
* Homosexual behavior also was viewed as immoral by 50 percent.
* Telling a lie to spare someone’s feeling was viewed as immoral by 43 percent.
* Sex between unmarried adults was viewed as immoral by 35 percent.
* The same number said gambling was immoral, with 17 percent saying it was morally acceptable.
* And, finally, 32 percent said that overeating was immoral.

The survey noted some traits about those responding to the questions, as well. On the topic of homosexuality, men are more morally disapproving than women, but both sexes have similar views on abortion. Those with more education were more forgiving than the less educated. And weekly church goers, white evangelical Christians and those 65 or older say 9 of the 10 behaviors are morally wrong. Overeating is the only behavior drawing minority disapproval in that group.

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