Religion: The Poor Parson

Of all the Protestant ministers in the U.S., two-thirds are in debt, and a large percentage of ministers' wives have to take outside jobs. The U.S. Protestant minister's average cash salary comes to $4,432 a year for a 60-to 80-hour week (New England ministers, the lowest paid, get only $4,018). Automobile expenses largely come from the ministers' own pockets—their average travel allowance is less than $300 a year.

These depressing statistics are part of a survey by the National Council of Churches that will be published in full next fall. Editorialized last week's Christian Century: In the old American view, the parson...

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