A new poll suggesting the waning influence of clergy doesn’t really surprise me. Perhaps the only thing that is at all newsworthy is that the poll describes religions opinions in the United States, which reinforces ongoing findings that even the US is becoming increasingly secular.
That the clergy are less respected than other professions (financial, medical, etc) seems to me a wholly expected result of secularization and the general decline of participation in churches. As someone who wears a cross on a military uniform and, occasionally, a civilian clergy shirt and dog collar, I don’t expect deference from strangers. Usually I hope for a sort of forbearance or polite tolerance, and hope to build on that.
What I find most interesting, and most hopeful, from this article is this part:
My advice for practicing and aspiring clergy who wish to be relevant would be that, in lieu of seeking or expecting a mostly vanished social respect and prestige, seek instead to cultivate character, empathy, and compassion.