Pastors hold the power to help the masses foster a deeper connection with the Almighty, ushering in remarkable personal change in parishioners’ lives and, more broadly, helping nudge our collective society on a better path forward.
But there’s a problem: Few Americans actually see preachers as being the people who are best able to “generate a healthy conversation on the challenges facing our society,” according to a newly released poll from LifeWay Research.
In fact, just 11 percent chose pastors at local churches when presented with a list of possible individuals who might be able to start some of these much-needed discussions.
And pastors weren’t the only individuals who didn’t fare all that well in the survey, with just 10 percent of respondents selecting professors, 8 percent choosing members of the media and 7 percent saying business leaders are best equipped for this role of generating conversations about America’s challenges.
On the political front, just 6 percent of respondents said Congress is in a position to help generate these conversations — a depressing proportion, though not entirely surprising considering the fact that under 20 percent of the nation approves of the job Congress is doing.
What is interesting, however, is that 23 percent of respondents see the “elected president” as being in a position to help create these “healthy conversations,” though the poll was conducted before president-elect Donald Trump’s stunning electoral win, so it’s unclear how people specifically view his abilities in this arena.
The highest proportion selected in the poll was “none of these,” with 33 percent rejecting the options presented in the survey (professional sports players and musicians were also included, though both groups got 1 percent or lower).
As it turns out, there’s no one group Americans look to when it comes to helping foster important conversations — discussions that must be had in light of the divisiveness that continues to plague the nation.
“There’s a vacuum of public leadership in America,” Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement. “We know we have problems and that we should talk about them. But there’s no one who can bring us all together.”
LifeWay conducted online interviews with 1,000 U.S. adults between Sept. 27 – Oct. 1, 2016, with a sampling error that doesn’t exceed plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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