As the second wave of Covid-19 was rising in late 2020, we were hearing persistent rumors that more U.S. clergy were dying from Covid-19 than the general population. We at FaithX wanted to know if these rumors were true and if so, why? Online searches revealed no research on the subject. Nor could we find any readily available data on clergy Covid deaths from denominational offices.
So we partnered with researchers at the Global Center from Religious Research (GCRR) to do some research of our own: a slice-in-time survey of Covid-related clergy deaths in the U.S. from January 1 through June 30, 2021. Obviously, this would not be an exhaustive study, but we did hope it would kickstart discussion and “prime the pump” for future research on the subject. We surveyed 16 major Christian denominations in the United States and published the results in the peer-review academic journal, Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry (SHERM Journal).
Our research revealed some interesting findings, including a strong reluctance by many denominational leaders to even participate in the study at all. Indeed, there were strong political polarizations that surfaced and resulted in some religious leaders (abusively) shaming and condemning us for even asking the question. The research also revealed that the Northeast had the highest recorded death rate compared to other geographical regions in the US, which is not surprising since that’s where the pandemic first started. If you would like to learn more, simply click the button below for the full SHERM article or continue reading this blog post for a short synopsis of the major findings.[Read more…]