I found this interesting – not new but confirms other materials I’ve read on the subject – lifted straight from the Chicago Tribune…writer Steve Chapman
American culture is sick, and secularism is the cause. Such is the contention of religious conservatives such as Rick Santorum, who insist that feminism, sexual freedom and gay rights have undermined traditional morality. The argument has “the virtues of clarity, simplicity and plausibility”, says Steve Chapman, but it has one big flaw: it is refuted by pretty much all the evidence. As America has grown more secular over the past 20 years, “most indicators of moral and social health have got better, not worse”. Crime levels, for instance, have plummeted, while teen pregnancy has fallen by 39%. What’s more, the parts of the US with the worst social problems today are the Bible Belt states, not the supposedly sin-ridden blue states, with their dangerous “moral relativism”. Mississippi has the nation’s highest rate of church attendance, with 63% of people saying they go “weekly or almost weekly”, but its residents are also “far more likely to be murdered than other Americans”. Liberal Vermont’s murder rate, by contrast, is a quarter of the national average. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, the first state to legalise gay marriage, has the nation’s lowest divorce rate. So much for the theory that religiosity promotes virtue and the decline of religious faith “goes hand-in-hand with vice”.