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.

Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.
Login
or
Subscribe
or
Register
Recent Posts
New Poverty-Fighting Alliance Launches
World Relief, Germany-based PartnerAid combine to grow programs, donor base.
Bible Society Takes 'More Accurate and Hopeful' Stance on Scripture Skeptics
(UPDATED) No more 'Bible antagonists,' among many findings in this year's ABS/Barna 'State of the Bible' report.
Popular Pastor Resigns after 'Moral Failure,' But Followers Still Want His Sermons
Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale explains why it took down Bob Coy's teachings on marriage.
Crimea Adoptions to Americans Blocked by Russia
(UPDATED) Ukraine has replaced Russia as No. 3 source of U.S. adoptions. But Crimea crisis has Christian alliance preparing evacuation plan for 4,000 orphans.