NOVEMBER 21, 2019 BY MICHAEL STONE
Separation of Church and State FTW: New findings released by the Pew Research Center show that a majority of Americans want religion to stay out of politics and believe that it is wrong for churches to endorse political candidates.
Pew Research Center reports:
U.S. adults are resoundingly clear in their belief that religious institutions should stay out of politics. Nearly two-thirds of Americans in the new survey say churches an other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, while 36% say they should express their views on day-to-day social and political questions. And three-quarters of the public expresses the view that churches should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during elections, in contrast with efforts by President Trump to roll back existing legal limits on houses of worship endorsing candidates.
Reporting on the story Courthouse News Service notes:
In a survey of 6,364 adults from March 18 to April 1, researchers found that 63% felt that churches and other religious institutions should “keep out of political matters” generally. Seventy-six percent felt that churches should not endorse political candidates.
However, respondents were more split on how much religious influence is already present in politics. Thirty-seven percent said religious organizations have “too much” influence, 28% said that such organizations have “not enough” influence, and 34% said that religious organizations have “about the right amount” of influence.
As for any supposed benefit of religious superstition for American society, a slight majority said “churches and religious organizations do more good than harm in American society.” However, as one might expect, Republicans were significantly more likely than Democrats to believe religion played a positive role in society.
Reporting on this partisan difference, Ethics Daily notes:
… 71% of Republican respondents felt that religion does more good than harm compared to 44% of Democrats, and 68% of Republicans said religion strengthens morality in society compared to 41% of Democrats.
Bottom line: The news is good. In an implicit endorsement of the separation of church and state, a majority of Americans want religion to stay out of politics and believe that it is wrong for churches to endorse political candidates.