Only half of Americans rate the honesty and ethics of clergy as very high or high, a new Gallup poll reveals.
A fall from 56 percent of Americans last year, the percentage is the lowest it has been in the last three decades.
The honesty and ethics of clergy are not seen favorably among both Catholics and Protestants and both regular and non-regular churchgoers.
Among Protestants and other Christians, only 55 percent – down from 60 percent in 2008 – gave a very high or high rating. Similarly, only 56 percent of Catholics, down from 63 percent last year, gave such ratings.
Americans who seldom or never attend church were less likely to rate the honesty and ethics of clergy as high (40 percent) compared to those who attend weekly (63 percent).
Overall, the Gallup report points out that the ratings of clergy remain high when compared to other professions. Clergy rank 8th in the 22 professions tested this year.
Bankers, stockbrokers, business executives, members of Congress and lawyers have low credibility with Americans when it comes to honesty and ethics.
Only 19 percent of Americans gave bankers high ratings.
Notably, however, the ratings of clergy declined the most over the past year.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 20-22, 2009.