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

Religion Today

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


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, Christianity Today reports. 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 1 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 executives 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 percent) as weekly churchgoers.

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