Americans to Religious Organizations: Stay Out of Politics
(RNS) — As Americans gear up for a long and bitterly contentious presidential election year, their message to religious leaders and institutions couldn’t be clearer: Keep out.
That’s the finding in the latest Pew Research poll, which found that 63% of Americans say churches and other houses of worship should stay out of politics, and 76% said religious congregations should not make political endorsements.
The poll, which Pew conducted online this past March from among 6,364 U.S. adults, also found that slightly more than half of U.S. adults say that the Republican Party is friendly toward religion (54%). Only one in five, (19%), think the Democratic Party is friendly toward religion. (According to Pew, Republican respondents said the Democratic Party is unfriendly toward religion, while most Democrats view their own party as neutral toward religion.)
“It used to be Republicans were viewed as friendly toward religion and Democrats were viewed as neutral,” said David Campbell, professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame. “Now you see a growing number of people saying, no, the Democrats are unfriendly toward religion.”
But the view that religion should not have as big a role in politics cut across religious faiths. Jews and the religiously unaffiliated are more likely than Christians to oppose mixing religion and politics. Even among Christians, however, 70% say churches and other houses of worship should not endorse candidates for political office, and
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