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U.S. Confidence in Religion at a Low

A new Gallup poll shows American distrust organized religion.

This article is from Issue 59: Sep/Oct 2012

A new Gallup poll says that Americans’ confidence in the Church or organized religion is at 44 percent, an all-time low in the slow, continuous decline that began in the 1980s.

In many ways, Gallup’s poll speaks to how much attention society pays to religion and religious authorities. In 1973, organized religion outranked even the Supreme Court as America’s most-trusted institution. It enjoyed steady popularity until the mid-1980s, when Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart suffered very public sex scandals. Then public trust of the Church plummeted below 60 percent.