Less than half of the country—just two out of every five Americans—believe clergy are honest and have high ethical standards, a recent Gallup poll found.

That level of trust has dropped steadily since 2009, down from a high of 67 percent in 1985, the pollster reported.

Pastors are now seen as less trustworthy than judges (43%), day care providers (46%), police officers (56%), pharmacists (62%), medical doctors (65%), grade school teachers (66%), military officers (71%), and nurses (82%).

According to religious breakdowns of the data provided to CT, self-identified Christians (776 respondents) are nearly twice as likely as non-Christians (236 respondents) to still have faith in their faith leaders. While nearly half of Christians said pastors had high ethical standards, only a quarter of non-Christians agreed.

Christians also indicated stronger support of military officers, with nearly three-quarters finding them trustworthy (74%), significantly more than non-Christians (63%). Christians were also more likely to trust police officers (59% vs. 46%), auto mechanics (35% vs. 27%), and business executives (18% vs. 13%).

Non-Christians, on the other hand, preferred grade school teachers (71% vs. 65% of Christians), judges (49% vs. 42%), and newspaper reporters (32% vs. 23%).

“Three of the professions rated highest for honesty and ethical standards are in the healthcare field—nurses, medical doctors, and pharmacists—a trend that has been the case in recent years,” Gallup said. “While the clergy are not at the bottom of the list of professions, this year's ratings represent a new low for a profession with image problems in recent years.”

Despite the shrinking trust around clergy in particular, ...

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