Confidence in Organized Religion at All-time Low in the U.S.

Only 36% of Americans say the have confidence in organized religion

The trend of Americans’ confidence in organized religion and the church eroding continues as 36 percent now say that have “quite a lot” or “a great deal” of confidence in organized religion which is the lowest it has ever been.

The data comes from a Gallup poll conducted from June 3rd to the 16th. The intent of the poll was to find out about the level of Americans confidence in “the church or organized religion” as well as 14 different institutions.

Between 1973 and 1985, confidence in organized religion was above in all other institutions even after the televangelist scandals in the ’80s until 2001. The 2002 Boston Globe‘s expose made it clear that Catholic church leaders knew about the serial sex abuse by priests and didn’t do much to stop it. With this news, the confidence level dropped to 45 percent. While it did make a slight recovery to around the 50 percent mark a few years after the scandal broke, between 2010 and 2017, it would regularly register in the 40s. However, in 2018 and 2019, Americans’ confidence in religion has remained under 40 percent.

In addition to this, Gallup has reported a decline in confidence among U.S. Catholics in addition to declining church attendance as well as views of the clergy’s ethical standards. Thirty-six percent of Catholics have confidence in organized religion or the church, which is much less when compared to 48 percent of Protestants. A mere 8 percent of adults without affiliation to any religion have reported having confidence in organized religion.

Three institutions, which are the police, small businesses, and the military hold the lion’s share of confidence in all the polls that Gallup has conducted. The police hold 53 percent, small businesses hold 68 percent, and the military holds 73 percent. There have been a few spikes in military confidence ratings which have been attributed to the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars. Confidence in the police and small businesses have remained quite stable.


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