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Clergy’s reputation hovers in the middle
Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
December 08, 2010
2 MIN READ TIME

Clergy’s reputation hovers in the middle

Clergy’s reputation hovers in the middle
Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
December 08, 2010

What do nurses, soldiers,

pharmacists, elementary school teachers, doctors, and police officers have in

common?

Americans say they are all

more ethical and honest than members of the clergy, according to a Gallup

survey released Dec. 3.

Slightly more than half of

Americans (53 percent) rate the moral values of priests, ministers and other

clerics as “very high” or “high.” That percentage is a slight bump from 2009,

when only 50 percent of Americans said men and women of the cloth are ethical

paragons, the lowest number in Gallup’s 32 years of measuring professional

reputations.

Before the Roman Catholic

clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in 2002, two-thirds of Americans had

regularly approved of ministers’ morals, according to Gallup.

“Stability is generally the

norm in Americans’ ratings of the honesty and ethics of professions, but

Americans’ opinions do shift in response to real-world events, mostly scandals,

that reflect poorly on a profession,” Gallup said.

A third of Americans this

year said the clergy’s morals are ‘average,” and 8 percent rated them “poor,”

according to the survey.

Bringing up the bottom of

the professional ethics list were lobbyists, car salesmen, and members of

Congress.

Results for this Gallup poll

are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 19-21, 2010, with a random

sample of 1,037 adults, aged 18 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus

4 percentage points.