“God and country” used to serve as shorthand for a set of shared American values such as pride in the nation and religious observance—values many people assumed were immutable. But as a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found, patriotism and religion, along with having children, are now far less appealing to Americans than they used to be.

Twenty-one years ago, when asked what was important to them, “strong majorities picked the principles of hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion, and the goal of having children,” the poll found. Today, by contrast, patriotism is down nine percentage points, religion is down 12 points, and having children is down 16 percentage points.


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