Despite interest in spiritual matters being sparked by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Americans' confidence in religious institutions is at a 30-year low. According to an annual Gallup Poll, just 45 percent expressed trust in organized religion. In comparison, the televangelist scandals in 1989 regarding sex and money pushed down American confidence in religion to 52 percent, "The Washington Times" reported.
But while the Protestant confidence rate of 59 percent is about the same as a year ago, Catholic trust plummeted to 42 percent, which is largely blamed on the sex-abuse scandal. For this year's Gallup survey on 16 kinds of institutions, religion ranked sixth. First was the U.S. military, with 79 percent of respondents saying they had a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence.
In contrast, only 26 percent of respondents had a great deal of confidence, and just 9 percent had quite a lot of confidence in organized religion. Between 1973 and the mid-1980s, religion ranked the highest of all institutions in confidence ratings, the "Times" reported.
The poll, which interviewed 1,020 adults, found religion lagged behind the police (59 percent), the president (58 percent), the U.S. Supreme Court (50 percent) and banks (47 percent) on the confidence scale, the "Times" reported.