The findings of a church-backed research poll suggest that the church’s reputation in Australia is sinking faster than that of the government, legal system, banks and media.
The poll, by National Church Life Survey, Edith Cowan University and Deakin University, said confidence had risen in relation to almost all Australian institutions – including state and federal governments and the legal, health, education and police systems. But the only institutions to continue to lose the public’s trust in recent years had been churches.
Researcher Philip Hughes pointed to abuse of power, cover-ups, and slipping moral standards within churches.
“Many people in the community see churches seeking to serve their own interests, rather than serving others,” Mr. Hughes said. “[This] has been heightened greatly by the widespread attention to cases of sexual abuse.”
The findings were drawn from a random selection of 1,500 people on the electoral roll.