Trustworthiness of Clergy and Other News


Trustworthiness of clergy

Clergy occupy the middle ground of professionals in terms of their perceived trustworthiness, according to two Opinium Research surveys published on 12 August 2015, for which representative samples of adults were interviewed online in the UK as a whole (12-16 June 2015, n = 2,002) and London (12 June-3 August, n = 1,001). The aim of the investigations was to test the public standing of the police, but 11 other groups (including clergy) were used as comparators. Majorities in both the UK (59%) and London (53%) regarded the clergy as very or quite trustworthy, with 28% and 31% respectively deeming them not very or not at all trustworthy. Nationally, the most adverse views of clergy were held by the 18-24s (37%) and ethnic minorities (40%). Summary data are tabulated below, with full results available via the links at: 

% very/quite trustworthy












Armed forces


















Broadsheet journalists






Tabloid journalists



Predicting Anglican extinction

The Church of England’s statistical fortunes may be none too healthy, overall, but it is still likely to see out the present century, just about, according to John Hayward, writing on the blog of the Church Growth Modelling project on 8 July 2015. On present evidence, he predicts, by means of linear regression and extrapolation, that the extinction date for the Church of England will be 2100 in terms of its attendance or 2082 as regards its membership. By contrast, three of its sister Anglican Churches are projected to die out long before that on an index of membership, assuming constant death rates: 2043 in the case of the Church in Wales and Scottish Episcopal Church and 2055 for the Episcopal Church of the USA. Hayward’s data and interpretations are set out at:

In a subsequent blog, dated 3 August 2015, Hayward suggests some potential ‘advantages’ of the Church of England which may explain why it faces a slower extinction than the other three Churches. See:

National Survey for Wales

On 7 August 2015 the UK Data Service released as SN 7767 the dataset for National Survey for Wales, 2014-15, the third in the series. Commissioned by the Welsh Government, face-to-face and self-completion interviews were conducted by TNS-BMRB and Beaufort Research between April 2014 and March 2015 with 14,285 adults aged 16 and over resident in private households in Wales. Although the questionnaire contained no specific component on religion or morality, a background question on ‘what is your religion?’ was asked. This naturally enables breakdowns of replies by religion for all the topics which were explored in the survey, focusing especially upon wellbeing and attitudes to public services. The catalogue entry for the dataset, with links to technical and other documentation, is at:

A Level results

The June 2015 GCE A Level provisional results for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland were published by the Joint Council for Qualifications on 13 August 2015. In terms of Religious Studies (RS), there were 25,773 entries, 6% more than in 2014 and 53% more than in 2005. RS remains a relatively gendered examination choice, with 69% of candidates being female, compared with an average of 55% for all subjects. The overall pass rate for A Level RS in 2015 was 99%, one point more than for all subjects combined, 80% obtaining a grade of A*-C. There were also 40,067 entries for an AS Level in RS. Much more detail is available at:

Religion of FCO staff

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Diversity and Equality Report, 2014-15, published on 31 July 2015, included details of the religious profession of its UK-based staff. Of the 42% who were willing to make a declaration, 43% identified as Christians, 33% as agnostics or atheists, 7% as non-Christians, with 17% preferring not to say. The overall (relatively low) declaration rate fir religion was the same as for disability and sexual orientation. The report is at:

London mayor

The London Mayoral election may not be until 5 May 2016, but the political parties are in the midst of selecting their preferred candidates to represent them. According to a YouGov poll for LBC Radio published on 13 August 2015, for which 1,153 Londoners were interviewed online on 10-12 August 2015, Muslim candidates could find themselves at a disadvantage (Syed Kamall still being in the chase for the Conservative nomination and Sadiq Khan for the Labour one). Asked whether they would be comfortable in a member of several groups becoming the next Mayor of London, only 55% of the public said they would be comfortable with a Muslim mayor, compared with 90% for a woman, 76% for an ethnic minority person, and 71% for a homosexual. Just under one-third (31%) replied they would be uncomfortable with a Muslim mayor, rising to 39% of Conservatives, 49% of over-60s, and 73% of UKIP voters. Data tables are at:

Islamic State

More than two-thirds (68%) of adults in the UK think the European Union (EU) has responded badly to the success of Islamic State (IS), more than ten times the number (6%) who believe that it has handled the matter well. These are much the same results as the average for all seven Western European countries in the survey, 67% and 5% respectively, the other nations being France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Fieldwork was conducted by Opinium Research for Cambre Associates among an online sample of 7.017 adults, including 1,005 in the UK, between 29 June and 10 July 2015. Majorities in both the UK and all seven countries as a whole also judged the EU to have badly handled three other current international issues: refugees arriving from Syria, the Greek debt crisis, and the conflict in Ukraine. Data tables were published on 11 August at:


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