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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Gallup:New low in religious confidence

Americans' confidence in organized religion, slowly but steadily declining since the 1970s, slipped to a new low in the latest survey, the Gallup Organization reported.

Only 44 percent of Americans have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the church or organized religion, Gallup said. In the mid-1970s, that confidence was 68 percent.

Today most Protestants (56 percent) expressed confidence, but only a minority (46 percent) of Roman Catholics did.

But Lydia Saad, Gallup senior editor, pointed out that the question deals with churches and organized religion. Americans are still generally religious people — though increasingly on their own terms.

Though the church or organized religion was the highest rated of 16 institutions in 1975, it still ranks fourth.

The top three institutions now are the military, small business and the police. The least-trusted institution is Congress, in which only 13 percent of Americans voice "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence. Health maintenance organizations and banks follow right behind Congress.


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