By Cathy Lynn Grossman – Washington Post
Americans have less confidence in organized religion today than ever measured before — a sign that the church could be "losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation's culture," a new Gallup survey finds.
"In the '80s the church and organized religion were the No. 1&?8243; in Gallup's annual look at confidence in institutions, said Lydia Saad, author of the report released Wednesday (June 17).
Confidence, she said, "is a value judgment on how the institution is perceived, a mark of the amount of respect it is due." A slight upsurge for Catholic confidence, for example, parallels the 2013 election and immense popularity of Pope Francis.
Overall, church/organized religion is now ranked in fourth place in the Gallup survey — behind the military, small business and the police — while still ahead of the medical system, Congress and the media, among 15 institutions measured.
"Almost all organizations are down but the picture for religion is particularly bleak," said Saad.