Update Your Sin List

This Easter, it's time to update your sin list.

The pope believes the modern world "is losing the notion of sin," so the Vatican has updated its sin list, which is a heckuva lot hipper than it used to be, including, for example, not fighting for social justice and contributing to environmental pollution.

What I find interesting is a survey cited by USA Today listing Americans' views of what are the most egregious sins. Adultery and racism topped the list, with 81 and 74 percent respectively of respondents finding them sinful. Using hard drugs (65 percent), "not saying anything if a cashier gives you too much change" (63), abortion (56), and homosexual activity (52) were next most sinful. Toward the bottom: gambling (30 percent), "not attending church or religious services regularly" (18), and drinking any alcohol (14).

Among the eye-popping findings for me is that more Americans rank abortion as sinful than having premarital sex (56 to 45 percent). Premarital sex without birth control is a precursor to unplanned pregnancies. Unplanned pregnancies are precursors to at least some abortions. So why not see the latter as more sinful?

Also of note are a number of actions that didn't even make it on the list. What about lying? Is that no longer on most Americans' sin list? Or are lying, murder, and theft such obvious sins that it's not even worth including them?

By Bonnie Erbe