Americans Reject Church-Based Politics, National Poll Indicates

Church & State, October 2000 | Go to article overview
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Americans Reject Church-Based Politics, National Poll Indicates


Most Americans want to see less politicking emanating from the nation's pulpits, a national survey indicates.

The poll, conducted by Princeton University last spring on behalf of the Pew Charitable Trust, interviewed 5,000 adults on their attitudes toward religion, politics and public life. When asked, "Do you think it is ever right for clergy to discuss political issues from the pulpit?," 57 percent of respondents said no. Only 37 percent said yes, and 6 percent said they don't know.

Other highlights from the poll include the following points:

* Asked if they would like to see more or less of religious leaders running for public office, 51 percent said less, and 39 percent said more.

* Asked if they would like to see more or less of religious leaders forming political movements, 59 percent said less, and 31 percent said more.

* Only 37 percent of respondents said they wanted to see "Christian fundamentalists" or "evangelical Christians" exercising "more influence" in shaping public opinion.

* Asked if they would like to see more or less of religious leaders appearing on television, 52 percent said less, while 39 percent said more.

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