Are churches key to solving social problems? Fewer Americans now think so.

Religious leaders and institutions have taken part in efforts to address important social issues throughout American history, from slavery to civil rights to today’s advocacy in areas such as reducing poverty. But according to a recent Pew Research Study, Americans appear to be growing more skeptical of how much of a difference churches and other houses of worship make in tackling social concerns. A majority of U.S. adults still say religious institutions contribute either “a great deal” or “some” to solving important social problems. But the combined figure of 58% has fallen significantly in recent years. About four-in-ten Americans (39%) now say religious institutions make little to no contribution in this area.

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