Pew survey looks at public’s level of confidence in nation’s leaders

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A new Pew Research Centre report examines public confidence in groups of people who hold positions of power and responsi-bility in America, including religious leaders.

The other groups included in the survey were members of Congress, military leaders, police officers, principals of K-12 public schools, journalists, leaders of technology companies and local elected officials.

Respondents were asked their views about several aspects of confidence in the performance and outlook of these groups of leaders, such as whether they care about people, handle resources responsibly or provide accurate information to the public. Results were released on 19th September. “In general, U.S. adults express positive opinions about the role of religious leaders play in their communities,” said a Pew report on the survey results. “U.S. adults express the most confidence in religious leaders’ ability to fulfil the spiritual needs of their communities on a consistent basis.

“Three-quarters say religious leaders do a good job providing for the spiritual needs of their communities ‘all or most’ or ‘some of the time,’ while just 23% say religious leaders do this only a little or none of the time. Another seven in 10 U.S. adults say religious leaders care about people like them at least some of the time.”

U.S. adults “are divided over how frequently religious leaders admit their mistakes and take responsibility for them,” it said, with half saying these leaders do this at least some of the time and half saying religious leaders do this “only a little” or “none of the time.”

Pew said the opinions about religious leaders varied by religious affiliation, age and frequency of attendance at religious services.

Adults who have a religious affiliation are more likely than the religiously unaffiliated — those who identify themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” — to say religious leaders “perform key parts of their jobs at least some of the time.”

Among adults who identify with a religious faith, Pew said, evangelical Protestants are among the groups who hold the most positive opinions about religious leaders.

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