Studies show that, despite everything, churches still have a good reputation in the United States.
Churches score #3 in the most-trusted-institution category. This is behind the military and the police. But far ahead of colleges, labor unions, banks, Congress, and the media (which rates last).
There are, however, variations according to religion and political affiliation.
The two studies are linked after the jump. (The Gallup study includes Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court [ranked highest among governmental agencies], big business, public schools, and others. That is more than the Pew study, which focuses on the different ratings given by different groups.)
According to Pew Research Center, Americans view the impact of religious institutions more positively than colleges, labor unions, banks, or the media, and their reputation has changed little during the political shifts over the past few years.
Amid growing skepticism over the benefits of college among Republicans and a widening political divide over the media, a majority of the country—59 percent—continue to see the church as having a positive impact, while 26 percent see it having a negative impact.
The church’s positivity ratings are more than twice as high as the lowest-rated institution, the media, which 28 percent of Americans view positively and 63 percent negatively.
The Pew report, released Monday, follows a trend of America’s shifting perspectives toward major institutions.
Last year, Gallup found the church ranked among the most-trusted institutions in the country (beat only by military and police), even though it dropped to a record-low 41 percent confidence rating.
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Photograph from Patheos