From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
RELIGION POLL: PUBLIC WANTS GREATER MORAL,
05 May 1996 13:05:00
95183 RELIGION POLL: PUBLIC WANTS GREATER MORAL,
ETHICAL LEADERSHIP FROM CLERGY
by George H. Gallup, Jr. and Robert Bezilla
Distributed by United Methodist News Service
PRINCETON, N.J.--Americans continue to have little good to say about their
institutions and leaders. And their clergy aren't doing that well either.
There was a time when members of the clergy were the most respected
members of their community. But factors such as the televangelist
scandals, political forays by some highly visible clergy and moral lapses
by others have taken their toll on the standing enjoyed by men and women of
Currently, a slim majority of the public rates the honesty and ethical
standards of the clergy as "very high" (14 percent) or "high" (40 percent).
But one person in three (34 percent) considers them only average, and
one in 10 thinks they are low (9 percent) or very low (1 percent).
Until 1988 the clergy always had ranked first in comparison to a wide
range of professions, but in that year and ever since they have been
supplanted by pharmacists, and have had to be content with second place in
the estimate of the public.
Clergy now are just slightly ahead of dentists, college teachers and
engineers in the public's opinion. (Way at the bottom of the list are
senators, congressmen, insurance agents and car salesmen.)
A survey by the George H. Gallup International Institute last
September found that only about one person in three (36 percent) believes
religious leaders or the church have been doing a good job of raising the
moral and ethical standards of the nation. Half the populace (50 percent)
think they have been doing just a fair job and 12 percent say their
performance has been poor.
The potential for improvement is great in the estimate of the public,
with two in three saying religious leaders could have a great deal of
influence on raising the moral and ethical standards of the United States.
An additional 27 percent think they could have some influence, and only 4
percent believe their impact is potentially negligible.
The findings for both the Gallup Poll and the study by the George H.
Gallup International Institute are based on telephone interviews with
representative national samples of 1,007 adults conducted in September
1994. The margin of error could be 3 percentage points in either
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .