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June 13, 1998

Most Americans Would Soften U.S. Military's Rules Sgainst Adultery

By Lydia Saad


PRINCETON, NJ -- A recent Gallup poll suggests that in spite of Americans' moral opposition to adultery, the public is not convinced that extramarital sex should be subject to punishment within the military. The issue has been raised in recent weeks by the dismissal of Lieutenant Kelly Flinn from the Air Force and the derailing of General Joseph Ralston's nomination as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In general, the value system of most Americans is quite conservative on adultery, with four out of five of those interviewed saying that extramarital sex is always wrong and only a handful saying it is not wrong at all. Still Americans resist workplace or military sanctions against employees who have such affairs, unless the relationship involves a person of superior rank or position, and a subordinate.

Rules Meant to be Bent
Just under half of national adults surveyed in the Gallup poll this week think the military should have special rules prohibiting adultery, while a roughly similar proportion think it should not. Even among those who agree with the Armed Forces' general policy against adultery, however, most believe the military should be lenient in enforcing its rules in cases where the adultery is revealed many years after the fact -- as it was in General Ralston's case.

Overall, only 16% of Americans take the hard line on adultery in the military, saying it should lead to dismissal in all cases. Twenty-nine percent think there should be rules against it but with exceptions for affairs that took place in the past, while 49% think there should be no rules against adultery in the armed forces.

Opinion about the military's rules is generally consistent across society, although men, young adults and Americans who have served in the U.S. military are slightly more likely than others to take the military's position in favor of strict anti-adultery rules.

Sympathy for Ralston's Case
In addition to Americans' low support for rules prohibiting adultery in the military and their lenient attitude toward administering them, General Ralston has a third factor on his side in the court of public opinion: the fact that he and his wife were formally separated at the time of his extramarital affair. According to the Gallup survey, Americans are generally tolerant of adultery when a couple is separated, with only 38% saying it is always wrong in those circumstances. Almost half feel it is wrong only sometimes or not wrong at all.

By comparison, Americans are much more critical of adultery when separation is not specified as an extenuating circumstance. Four out of five think that having sexual relations with someone other than the marriage partner is always wrong, while another 11% think it is almost always wrong.

These attitudes provide the context for the finding that three of four Americans say General Ralston should not have been disqualified from consideration for the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff solely because "he had an affair thirteen years ago while he was separated from his wife." Only 22% believe he should have been disqualified. Ralston withdrew his name from consideration earlier this week after the firestorm of publicity which arose over his admitted affair, and the parallels between his case and that of the recently discharged B-52 pilot Lt. Flinn.

Sex in the Work Place
A type of extramarital affair that does disturb Americans is one between a superior and a subordinate in a work environment -- although this may have more to do with the conflict of interest involved than with the immorality of adultery. More than half of Americans, 55%, believe that an affair between a military officer and someone of lesser rank is grounds for dismissal from the military, while only 37% say it is not. Similarly, 73% say an affair between a college professor and his or her student is grounds for dismissal; only 23% say it is not.

In other instances, however, Americans seem to be saying that adultery which does not compromise the chain of command at work is not the employer's business. Only 29% of Americans think that an affair between a military officer and someone outside of the military should be grounds for dismissal. And only 32% think that an affair between coworkers of equal position in a work place is just cause for being fired.

Not surprisingly, one occupation that the public holds accountable to its moral standards against adultery is the clergy, with 73% of Americans saying it is justifiable to dismiss a member of the clergy because of an extramarital affair. Just 21% disagree.

The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 651 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 10, 1997. For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be plus or minus 4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

What is your opinion about a married person having sexual relations with someone other than their marriage partner -- is it always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?

Always wrong 79%
Almost always wrong 11
Wrong only sometimes 6
Not wrong at all 3
No opinion 1

What is your opinion about a married person who is separated from their husband or wife having sexual relations with someone other than their marriage partner -- do you think it is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?

Always wrong 38%
Almost always wrong 13
Wrong only sometimes 25
Not wrong at all 21
No opinion 3

Do you think the United States' military should or should not have special rules prohibiting adultery? (If "yes" or not sure, asked:) Do you think the military should dismiss members of the military for adultery no matter when the adultery occurred, or do you think they should make exceptions for cases where the adultery occurred many years ago?

Dismiss always 16%
Dismiss with exceptions 29
No prohibitions on adultery 49
No opinion 6

As you may know, Air Force General Joseph Ralston recently withdrew his name from consideration for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after it was revealed that he had an affair thirteen years ago while he was separated from his wife. In your view should the fact that General Ralston had this affair have disqualified him for consideration for the position, or should it not have disqualified him?

Yes, disqualified him 22%
No, not disqualified him 75
No opinion 3



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ASSASSIN of JFK, Patton, many other Whites

killed 264 MILLION Christians in WWII

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holocaust denier extraordinaire--denying the Armenian holocaust

millions dead in the Middle East

tens of millions of dead Christians

LOST $1.2 TRILLION in Pentagon
spearheaded torture & sodomy of all non-jews
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42 dead, mass murderer Goldman LOVED by jews

serial killer of 13 Christians

the REAL terrorists--not a single one is an Arab

serial killers are all jews

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mother of all fnazis, certified mentally ill

10,000 Whites DEAD from one jew LIE

moser HATED by jews: he followed the law Jesus--from a "news" person!!

1000 fold the child of perdition


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