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Confidence in Church, Organized Religion Continues to Dip

The church and organized religion ranked fourth in Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions report released on June 28.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they had a “great deal / quite a lot” of confidence in the church or organized religion, with 33 percent expressing “some” confidence and 27 percent “very little / none.”

While this ranked fourth among the institutions included in the survey – ahead of 11 others, including the U.S. presidency, U.S. Supreme Court, the medical system and public schools – overall confidence in religious institutions lagged well behind the top three institutions.

“Confidence in the church or organized religion is down three points to 38 percent. This is another all-time low for an institution whose highly positive image has been shrinking since its peak 68 percent great deal/quite a lot confidence rating in 1975,” the report stated. “The church had been the top-rated institution in the 1973-1985 surveys. The last year a majority of Americans expressed high confidence in the church was 2009.”

The U.S. military received the highest rating, with 74 percent of respondents expressing a “great deal / quite a lot” of confidence, 20 percent “some” and 5 percent “very little / none.”

Small business was a close second with 67 percent having a “great deal / quite a lot” of trust, 26 percent “some” and 6 percent “very little / none.”

Police ranked third, with 54 percent of respondents sharing a “great deal / quite a lot” of confidence, 31 percent “some” and 15 percent “very little / none.”

The bottom three institutions in the confidence index were the U.S. Congress (11 percent “great deal / quite a lot” of confidence), television news (20 percent) and the criminal justice system (22 percent).

“For the most part, the low ratings correspond closely to the percentage expressing high confidence – the higher the positive rating, the lower the negative,” Gallup explained. “However, the presidency is an exception. Whereas the presidency and Supreme Court have identical high confidence ratings of 37 percent, the presidency has a 44 percent low confidence rating vs. the Supreme Court’s 18 percent – yielding a net rating of +19 for the Supreme Court and -7 for the presidency.”

The full survey results are available here.