Americans Reject Pulpit Politicking, New Poll Says

Americans continue to overwhelmingly oppose church intervention in elections, according to a new survey released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The poll, which was released in mid-August, found that 70 percent of Americans “oppose churches and houses of worship endorsing specific candidates for public office.” The survey also showed that more than half of every major religious group opposed such endorsements.

Seventy percent is the highest this number has been since Pew began asking this question about a decade ago. The results are likely disappointing to the Alliance Defense Fund, which encouraged pastors to break the law and endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit on Sept. 26. Federal tax law prevents 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and many other nonprofits, from influencing elections using tax-exempt resources.

“This just proves what we have been saying all along,” said Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “People attend houses of worship for spiritual reasons, not for advice on whom they should vote for.”

The Pew poll also showed that Americans are uncomfortable with houses of worship that spend too much time addressing political and social issues. A majority, 52 percent, says houses of worship should keep out of political matters.