June 19, 2006
Countries whose citizens regularly attend church are likely to be more corrupt, according to a think-tank’s report.
The study finds a link between religious devotion — calculated according to the proportion of the population that attends a place of worship at least once a week — and levels of perceived corruption among public officials and in business life.
Of the 27 countries considered, 22 were predominantly Christian. Ian Senior, who wrote the study for the Institute of Economic Affairs, said that the apparent link was a surprise. “Personally, I find it disappointing that religiosity apparently does not provide a bulwark against corruption,” he said.
He also found that high levels of corruption, as measured by Transparency International, an anti-corruption pressure group, were associated with low incomes per head, high regulation and a lack of press freedom.
Mr Senior compiled a league of corruption in leading countries and international institutions by analysing newspaper reports from the past 30 years of invest-
igations into corrupt practices, awarding “gold medals” to heads of government who play the system and lesser medals for politicians further down the line.
2 Peter 2:19 also comes to mind.
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