Gallup: American Confidence in Religion at All-Time Low

The Gallup Poll released data this week showing that Americans currently have the lowest confidence in organized religion than at any other time, with Protestants proving the most trusting group while distrust among Catholics is attributed to child sex abuse scandals.

In response to a question about their confidence in religion, statistics showed that only 44 percent of respondents had a great deal or a lot of confidence in religion. This number is lower than the 48 percent scored in 2011, and lower than the previous all-time low of 45 percent reported in 2002.

Protestants remained the most trusting group in America, with 56 percent of respondents claiming that they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in the church/organized religion. Catholics, which make up the second-largest Christian denomination in America, dropped to 46 percent. While Gallup was unable to analyze the other groups of respondents separately, it concluded that Americans that do not identify as Protestants or Catholics on average have 29 percent less faith in organized religion.

The poll suggests that Catholics, who in the past decade have been less confident in religion than Protestants, might be negatively affected by the child abuse scandals that have been especially prominent in the Roman Catholic Church over the last decade.

"Two major findings apparent in Gallup's confidence in the church and organized religion trend are, first, the long-term decline in Americans' confidence in this societal institution since 1973, and second, the suppressed confidence among Catholics relative to Protestants starting in 1981, and becoming more pronounced by 2002," Gallup says.

"While various sex abuse scandals involving U.S. clerics have likely played a role in Americans' growing skepticism about the church and organized religion, the decline in confidence does not necessarily indicate a decline in Americans' personal attachment to religion," the organization adds.

The full survey asked a series of other questions about Americans trust in institutions, showing that people are losing faith in a lot of various other institutions too, ranging from the public school system to Congress.

Gallup surveyed a sample of 1,004 U.S adults across all 50 U.S states in telephone interviews between June 7-10, 2012.