Americans’ regard for religious clergy’s honesty and ethics at all-time low

No surprise there, given the recent and ongoing news about pedophile priests (even cardinals), and their enabling superiors.

Gallup has measured the public’s views of the honesty and ethical standards of a variety of occupations since 1976.

Before 1999, clergy members were frequently the most-highly rated professions for their ethics, but no more.

Megan Brenan writes for Gallup, Dec. 20, 2018, that Gallup has measured Americans’ views of the clergy’s honesty and ethics 34 times beginning in 1977. The high point was in 1985 when 67% of Americans rated the clergy very highly or highly.

This year, however, only 37% gave very high/high ratings on the clergy’s honesty and ethical standards — the lowest to date.

Positive views of the honesty and ethics of the clergy dropped in 2002 amid the first sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Although positive ratings rebounded somewhat in the next few years, they fell to 50% in 2009 and have been steadily declining since 2012.

The latest low ratings of the clergy come on the heels of more investigations into child sex abuse by Catholic priests in the U.S. Currently, only 31% of Catholics and 48% of Protestants rate the clergy positively.

Here’s how other professions are regarded in Gallup’s recent poll (Dec. 3-12, 2018):

  • Nurses are the most well-regarded: More than 4 in 5 Americans (84%) rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high,” earning them the top spot for the 17th consecutive year.
  • Four other professions are also rated as having “high” or “very high” honesty and ethical standards: medical doctors (67%), pharmacists (66%), high school teachers (60%) and police officers (54%).
  • 12 occupations receive “average” ratings of 42% to 54% for their honesty and ethical standards. Among them are real estate agents (54%) and lawyers (51%).
  • Members of Congress are again held in the lowest esteem, worse than car salespeople and telemarketers. Nearly 58% of Americans rate their representatives in Congress as having “low” or “very low” ethical standards.
  • Incredibly, journalists are doing better: their 33% very high/high rating matches their record high in 1977 and is a 10 percentage point increase from two years ago in December 2016, when 41% of Americans held a negative opinion of their ethics. The rebounding of journalists is largely due to Democrats — yet another example of how Democrats and Republicans view reality very differently:
    • 54% of Democrats gave very high/high ratings on journalists’ honesty, a 21-point increase since 2016.
    • Among political independents, roughly one-third each say journalists have high, average and low ethics.
    • Republicans‘ views are unchanged, with 61% giving journalists low ethics ratings.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Susan CarrollAlmaTrailDustSteven BroilesLana Recent comment authors
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Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

Well, I won’t try to diminish the fact that Catholic clergy has been having a pretty dismal time. The hierarchy has not distinguished themselves either. I always caution that The Church is constantly under fire and Protestant abuse is not hyped nearly as much as Catholic abuse issues are. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be happening. Having said that, do I trust Protestant clergy more? No, I don’t. But, the two are hard to compare due to priestly formation issues and the living arrangements of the two. To be honest, years ago when I would take my kids to catechism, I wouldn’t… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
Guest
Auntie Lulu

Dr Eowyn, this is an excellent article. I am tickled pink that members of Congress rate lower than car salesmen and telemarketers–that certainly says something. I absolutely agree with that assessment, members of our Congress for the most part are sleazy, greasy, slimy, money grubbing individuals.

Dan
Guest
Dan

There’s also the problem of so many being lukewarm, likened to the lukewarmedness of the eunuch, having one foot in the church and the other firmly planted in the soft life. As it says in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know of thy doings, and find thee neither cold nor hot; cold or hot, I would thou wert one or the other. Being what thou art, lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, thou wilt make me vomit thee out of my mouth.”

Lana
Guest
Lana

Here is a review from the web on my local Catholic Church….. “You will often hear Democrat talking points (gun control, environmentalism, corporate greed, minimum wage). Youth ministry participation can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you have a lot of kids. I didn’t like how much meditative yoga was pushed (not comfortable with that). No communion on the tongue allowed. There’s a very strong sewer smell outside the Church – not sure what’s up with that. You might be turned off if you have conservative values or want to see pro-life initiatives, standing against gay marriage, etc (non-judgment zone…don’t dare… Read more »

Steven Broiles
Member

I really don’t think polls can be very objective; Even when they really do attempt to be objective, just how objective can they really be? Maybe everything is relative. I was a high school English teacher in NYC for 12 years. Some teachers, although almost of them tilted left, were fairly moral if albeit misguided people. Yet I found those teachers who were overtly communistic to be the absolute scum of the earth: They enlisted students to fight their battles for them. As someone who has driven a cab since those days, I can tell you that the livery business… Read more »

TrailDust
Admin

Then my attitude matches a poll for the first time ever!

Alma
Member
Alma

I’ve said that it is easy for a deviant to hide under a cloak and get away with their superiors approval. Long ago priests were regarded the family’s pride and joy, a man of God, couldn’t get any better for a family to say “my son is a priest” but we soon found out it was the easiest way for a sick SOB stepping off the pulpit and after the service prey on the innocent. There is a significant decline in the priesthood and will continue because the sacred is tainted. The mistrust is profound, why confess my sins to… Read more »

Susan Carroll
Guest
Susan Carroll

It actually is pederasty not pedophilia which is the issue with Catholic clergy. There is a huge homosexual problem in the Church; created on purpose by people like Bella Dodd (who repented and testified to Congress) about the infiltration of the Catholic church with homosexuals and communists.