Respect for clergy drops; pollsters attribute to sex abuse comment (1)
January 9, 2014
WASHINGTON — Clergy used to rank near the top in polls asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethics of people in various professions. In 2013, for the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1977, fewer than half of those polled said clergy have “high” or “very high” moral standards.
Overall 47 percent of respondents to the survey gave clergy “high” or “very high” ratings, a sharp drop in confidence from the 67 percent of Americans who viewed them this way in 1985.
In 2013, clergy took a back seat to nurses, pharmacists, schoolteachers, medical doctors, military and police officers.
The overall trend for clergy has sloped downward since 2001, with Gallup pollsters attributing the slide to sexual abuse scandals.
Though clergy seem to be dropping in the nation’s esteem, they are far from the bottom of the list. Reading from the bottom up, the poll ranks lobbyists, members of Congress, car sales people, state office holders and advertising practitioners as the least ethical.