Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are Clergy Ethical -- the Poll says -- maybe not!

Back when Edgar Dewitt was Pastor of the congregation I now pastor, clergy were revered -- both inside and outside the church. They didn't always get paid well, but they were among the most respected people in a community. Oh, yes there were the Elmer Gantry types out there, and the occasional scandal, but still people looked up to clergy.

Such is no longer the case. A recent Gallup poll suggests that the level of respect for clergy ethics has dropped 6% from an already low 56% to 50%. The good news is that non-religious people have a slightly higher view this year over last -- jumping from 31% to 34%. Apparently, public perception of clergy ethical conduct is at a 32 year low. I wonder what was happening in 1977 that caused it to fall to such a low level?

Although the pollsters aren't sure why this happened, this is lower than when the Catholic scandals were at their height. But, perhaps those scandals have caused people to look closer to home, and not finding much to be thankful for.

Now, one could rejoice that this suggests that people are less inclined to embrace clericalism. If that meant that the laity were taking more responsibility in the church, that rejection of clericalism might be good. But, if this is due to a belief that pastors/ministers/rabbis etc are unethical that is not good.

But, at least we have a higher standing than stock brokers and lawyers!

The chart is courtesy of James McGrath's blog -- Exploring the Matrix.


pastormack said...

What exactly is 'clericalism'?

Anonymous said...

You beat out funeral directors.

Anonymous said...

Buck up Bob, I bet if they asked about blogging preachers they'd be pushing 60%! Scientist probably will take a hit because of those darn e-mail. David Mc