Trust in the clergy

Disturbing news for the Easter weekend of plummeting trust in the clergy.  According to various reports

According to a survey of 1,918 adults by pollster YouGov commissioned by The Sunday Times newspaper between March 27 and 28, forty percent of those polled said they did not trust the clergy to tell the truth.

They also regarded the clergy as the sixth most trusted profession on a list of eighteen occupations, with doctors, teachers and judges being rated as more trustworthy than the clergy.

The poll, which was released on Sunday, also showed that 69 percent of people in Britain thought the Church of England was out of touch.

Moreover, over half (54 percent) of respondents said the mother church of the Anglican Communion does a bad job of providing moral leadership.

Oh dear.  However, this partly shows that we are moving away from a society based on ritual badge based authority; instead, people have authority based on the authenticity and example of what they say.  Respect somewhat has to be earned.

I feel for the CofE, which if it attacks the banks or opposes same sex marriage, or does the opposite, will alienate a large proportion of its advocates.  what it cannot do is be the sort of retired clergyperson, who talks as though it is a great moral failing of the nation, that every word that comes from their lips, is not treated as Gospel.   I’d also be interested if people who use the church feel the same.  (People who have used the NHS recently generally rate it better than those who rely on the papers.)

Like all these surveys it is fascinating to see how poorly journalists and politicians do, and how often it is these professions castigating other, much more trusted people.  and like all these surveys, digging further is intriguing – BBC TV news is much much more trusted than ‘journalists in general’. 

Quakers don’t have clergy, and this can contribute to our invisibility.  all of us, in George Fox’s words, have to seek to be patterns and examples, in our own way.  But just because we don’t have paid professional clergy, doesn’t mean we cannot sympathise with them sometimes!

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