Jump directly to the content

Barely Half of Weekly Churchgoers Think Pastors Contribute "A Lot" to Society

Clergy lag behind military, teachers, and doctors in Pew survey of most-respected professions.

Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans think clergy contribute "a lot" to society, according to new data from a survey on which professions Americans respect most.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 18 percent of American adults surveyed believe clergy contribute "nothing" to the wellbeing of society, and another 36 percent believe clergy contribute "some." That's just one percent less than those who believe clergy contribute "a lot."

The percentages have stayed more or less constant since the last time Pew asked the question in 2009. Clergy rank lower in public esteem than the military, teachers, medical doctors, scientists, and engineers, but higher than artists, journalists, business execs, and lawyers.

But according to Pew, even among regular churchgoers (those who report attending services at least once a week), barely half (52 percent) rate clergy as contributing "a lot"—and more than 1 in 10 church-going respondents say the clergy contribute "not very much/nothing."

White evangelical Protestants have the same narrow majority (52%) as weekly churchgoers.

In other recent research, Gallup noted the seven people Americans trust more than their pastor, and Barna found that Americans are more influenced by professional athletes than by pastors.

Yet Americans still admire evangelist Billy Graham, who has appeared on Gallup's "Most Admired Man" list a record-breaking 56 times since 1955.

Related Topics:Pastors
Posted:July 18, 2013 at 10:40AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Can Wheaton College Require ROTC Program Be Run By Christians?
US Army reviews nationwide policy for ROTC profs, who are paid by military but work as full-time faculty.
Died: R. Judson Carlberg, Christian Higher Ed Leader, Biologos Chair
On Thanksgiving, he once wrote, 'I am thankful for cancer. James 1:2-3... Life is richer, trust is stronger and relationships are deeper.'
Politics
President Obama Cites Exodus on Immigration Reform: 'We Were Strangers Once Too'
(UPDATED) Reactions from Sam Rodriguez, Russell Moore, Jenny Yang, Noel Castellanos on Obama's motive vs. method.
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Christianity Today
Barely Half of Weekly Churchgoers Think Pastors Contribute "A Lot" to ...