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A new poll conducted by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds out that 75% of Americans rarely or never consult a clergy member for advice. Actually, more Americans than ever have no religious affiliation and those who believe are relying less on their religious leaders for advice.
According to the research, fewer adults say clergy have a positive impact on society today than do teachers, doctors, scientists, and members of the military. That’s absolutely normal conclusion considering how clergy members are still anti-LGBTQ, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex and some of them are sex offenders.
When it comes to sex, 82% wouldn’t consult a religious leader. The similar thing is with money (81%), politics (81%), and birth control (81%). Only 50% of people said they might get a clergy member’s advice about volunteering.
Religious leaders are trying to explain the results:
Tim O’Malley, a theology professor at Notre Dame University, said he suspects that technological self-service is among the factors contributing to infrequent contact with clergy.
“In American life, there has ultimately been a broad rejection of ‘experts’ apart from the person searching for the answer on his or her own,” O’Malley said in an email. “Think about the use of Google. You can literally Google anything. Should I have children? What career should I have? When should I make a will? How do I deal with a difficult child?”
Consulting Google in most cases is better solution and has more positive influence on people than consulting clergy members because there are fact-based answers from people who know what they’re talking about.
O’Malley, who also serves as director of education for Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, sees “a lack of trust in all sorts of institutions,” including houses of worship.
“Surely the church — the Catholic church in particular — has lost some moral authority in the last 25 years in the United States,” he said. “But it is joined by schools, newspapers, the media in general, etc.” Schools should help young people answer difficult questions about their future, but newspapers and media never had such influence. The first place for religious people to go when they seek for moral guidance is church and the church destroyed its good reputation with its activities.