Unless research methodologies are clearly reported, statistics can be very misleading. What may be true of one demographic or area may be completely different for another. Therefore, without said methodologies being presented, one must always take statistics with a grain (or tablespoon) of salt. Sometimes, even with those given caution must be held as statistics can also be contorted by the biases of the researches. True enough, numbers may not lie, but the humans who present them surely can. Which is the irony of Gallup poll I discovered a few weeks ago and have been mulling over. Now, Gallup is certainly a very trusted organization. Therefore, I do not have much cause to doubt the validity of there recent study honesty and ethics in professions. Due to that inclination to believe them I find the report to be most troubling. The poll, not over two months old, regards public opinion of 21 professions.
You can see here that nurses are generally held in very high regard. From our personal experience, I believe we would have answered similarly about our nurses. However, from there down the level of trust in all other professions drops dramatically. Some our own doing, such as members of congress. I have long wondered why politicians keep getting re-elected if we don't trust them. I understand an initial election, or even a second. However, it is foolish to continue allowing their election if we don't trust them. Some others I wonder what would be the outcome if asked about different sub-categories of the professions. For instance, bankers are rated poorly. I wonder what people would say if they compare banks versus credit unions. As I have utilized both, I believe credit unions would score higher than banks. Still others I am confused about. Why are funeral directors even on this list? I have seen the costs of different options at death, but I cannot imagine a reason for a 44% rating overall let alone the need to poll about that particular profession as it is. Least surprising, in my opinion, would be lobbyists and car salespeople. While I know very ethical groups of both professions, they are certainly the quintessential swindlers of this lot of professionals.
All that said, what I most want to address, indeed what distresses me most, is the rating of the clergy. A friend and I were discussing how this could be so low. Perhaps it would differ based on denomination, or even religion. The difference can also be made depending on race, age, gender, or other distinctions. Regardless, the fact remains, clergy are not trusted. Considering their whole job is to point to God (or their gods), something must change. As my friend mentioned, sometimes “clergy aren't held to human standards so any breach of trust will be exaggerated compared to anyone else.” As they are supposed to be the representatives of their body of believers or their God, any possibility of them not being without fault can be severely judged. In addition, the distrust could also be ideological disagreement which manifests itself as distrust. I know I have come upon this myself, when I believe certain clergy have become so entrenched in their beliefs that they are unwavering. While this may be good in many aspects (e.g. Christian clergy believing in the divinity of Christ), in other aspects it can be harmful (misinterpreting OT writers as proponents of slavery or oppression.) If you are a member of the clergy (which a good many of my current readers are), I would recommend you take time to reflect on this poll result. Look at yourself, and determine if there are any actions or beliefs in your own life that could cause for distrust of your profession. Even more importantly, those can cause distrust of your God.
Related side note: I realized I have now surpassed 150 posts on this blog. I have been writing here for almost nine years now, since April 2007. I have certainly come a long way since then. My life and views have changed in many unexpected ways and exciting adventures have been had. For those who are continuing to read, I thank you for trusting me enough to continue reading. (And, if you continue tracking with me, I'll continue doing my best to write.)