Pew’s Forum on Religion and Public Life has released the latest version of its periodic survey of public attitudes toward various professions in America. The survey asks whether a given occupation contributes to society’s well-being. The results? The military tops the list, with almost 80% responding that the military contributes “a lot” to society. Teachers come in second, with 72%. The percentages then drop through various professions, until the list reaches the bottom with–lawyers. Only 18% of respondents said that lawyers contribute a lot to society. (The survey didn’t ask what people thought of “law teachers” like me. Perhaps it’s better only guessing).
Clergy rank roughly in the middle. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that clergy contribute a lot to society, but the percentages vary greatly among religious groups. For example, 52% of white Evangelicals say clergy contribute a lot to society, but only 28% of Hispanic Catholics say the same. Somewhat surprisingly, one-fifth of the religiously unaffiliated say that clergy contribute a lot to society–another indication that, in America, even the Nones have a soft spot for religion. For more analysis of the Pew Survey, click here.