Clergy's ethics ratings hit 32-year low
    December 10 2009 by Religious News Service

    (RNS) Americans' views of the "honesty and ethics" of clergy have hit a 32-year low, with just half rating their moral caliber as high or very high, according to Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics Ratings of Professions survey.

    The reason for the decline from 56 percent last year to 50 percent in 2009 is "unclear," according to a Gallup news release, which also noted that "now the clergy's ratings are below where they were earlier this decade" at the height of the Catholic Church's clergy abuse scandal.

    Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator for the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, attributed the drop to ripple effects from seven years of negative press surrounding predatory priests.

    "The Catholic church's ongoing clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis has also prompted victims in other denominations to step forward, speak up, call police, expose predators, file lawsuits, and speak publicly,"
    she said. "This has, we suspect, also contributed to the diminished view of clergy."

    Ratings dropped year-over-year among Catholics and Protestants, as well as among regular and occasional churchgoers. However, they rose in one category: among those professing "no religion." Last year, 31 percent rated clergy honesty high or very high; in 2009, that figure inched up to 34 percent.

    "Still, ratings of the clergy remain high on a relative basis, ranking eighth of the 22 professions tested this year," Gallup said.

    Clergy ratings, however, declined the most -- 6 percentage points -- followed by lawyers, with a 5-point drop to 13 percent.

    The most highly regarded profession was nursing, with 83 percent judging nurses' honesty and ethics as high or very high.

    Police officers showed the greatest gain (7 points), to 63 percent.

    Bankers' ratings tumbled amidst the financial crisis to 19 percent, down from 23 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in 2007. Ratings of stockbrokers
    fell to 9 percent, the same level as members of Congress.  

    The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,017 adults nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

    12/10/2009 10:48:00 AM by Religious News Service | with 3 comments

Gene Scarborough
Thanks, Thomas! I see this particular article worthy of reflection rather than argument.

If you want to see more of my thinking, join me at
12/11/2009 5:32:25 PM

Thomas Kiker
Gene, may I say that was a very insightful and touching comment. Especially the "how straight you walk" comment.
12/10/2009 9:12:55 PM

Gene Scarborough
It's not how high you jump----it is how straight you walk when you hit the ground!

Thanks to my Dad, Dr. Claude Scarborough-pastor of FBC Tryon, for this wonderful and simple motto. God bless him and keep him in his home above for living what he preached from the pulpit. If only more would do it!!!

He told me a wonderful story of how a child once was looking out the screen door and told his mother, "I see God." When the mother looked out, it was him walking down the street. He told me, with tears in his eyes, that when I became an ordained minister this is how the simple honesty of a child says it all: walk as if God was living in you!!!!!
12/10/2009 8:42:21 PM

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