Americans Trust Clergy Less Than Ever, Gallup Poll Finds
Americans’ confidence in religious leaders’ honesty and ethical standards has been tanking in recent years.
By Carol Kuruvilla
The level of trust Americans have in clergy members has dropped to a record low, a recent Gallup survey suggests.
The polling organization found that only 37 percent of 1,025 respondents had a “very high” or “high” opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of clergy, according to a report published on Thursday. Forty-three percent rated clergy’s honesty and ethics as “average,” while 15 percent had low or very low opinions.
…“Men and women turn toward clergy in some of the most intimate moments of their lives,” Fea told HuffPost in an email. “The kinds of scandals and authoritarian leadership that we saw this year among the clergy undermines the trust we place in them.”
…Fea said American religion has always existed in a “consumer society,” where individuals “shop” for the churches that best meet their needs. Fueled by a general distrust in the authority of the clergy, Americans have been finding other sources for their spiritual nourishment, he wrote.
…Americans viewed clergy as less honest than police officers, accountants, and funeral directors, Gallup’s December report states, but more trustworthy than bankers, lawyers, business executives and telemarketers.