Yep, in the old days it was born from a fear of Hell, and now it is born from a fear of almost everything. The fear of Hell was created on purpose by the Church for its own interests, and the fear of modern Americans has been created by the political ruling class for its own interests.
What I find hilarious is that the modern Puritans will blast the old time religous Puritans here at a2k and other places. We get to constantly hear how evolved and how much better we are than they were, when we are doing the same stupid **** all over again. History books exist for a reason, it would be helpful if folks read them.
It would be nice if laws and public disapproval would make people morally pure. So many act as though this will work. What it does is drive what we don't want to see further underground, making it increasingly difficult to deal with.