Gallup’s newest ethics survey is out. The results are fascinating. First, let’s look at the overall ranking. The numbers in parentheses depict the percentage of those who rate the ethical standards of the profession as “very high” or “high.” The other categories were “average,” “low,” and “very low.”
1. Nurses (79%)
2. Medical doctors (62%)
3. Pharmacists (58%)
4. High school teachers (53%)
5. Police officers (50%)
6. Accountants (41%)
7. Judges (39%)
8. Clergy (34%)
9. Bankers (26%)
10. Real estate agents (24%)
11. Journalists (23%)
12. Lawyers (22%)
13. Advertising practitioners (17%)
14. Business executives (16%)
15. Car salespeople (12%)
16. Members of Congress (10%)
17. Telemarketers (8%)
Second, let’s try to discern why approximately two-thirds of Americans rate clergy and pastors so low. To try to understand these negative sentiments, I went back to an article I wrote about why non-Christians view Christians negatively*. The comments from non-Christians are insightful. It’s not a perfect analogy to sentiments about pastors, but it helps. Second, I reviewed the comments of our community at Church Answers, almost 2,000 church leaders.
It would seem that the top reasons for negative sentiments toward pastors are:
- General negativity about the beliefs of Christianity
- Church sex abuse scandals
- Sexual moral failures of church leaders
- Negative presence of church leaders on social media
- Ethical failures of pastors dealing with financial issues
- Pastors who are consistently against something
To be clear, Gallup’s survey is precise and accurate. My six points represent a non-scientific survey of comments from several of our sources.
I would love to hear your thoughts about these ratings.
In the meantime, members of Congress can be grateful for telemarketers.
Posted on January 16, 2023
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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