A new Pew Research survey shows yet again that Americans want religion to stay out of the world of electoral politics. Seventy-six percent of respondents said that churches and other houses of worship should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during political elections. That result aligns with previous polls that demonstrate the country’s strong aversion to mixing electioneering with religious worship
Here is more on the poll’s findings:
In addition, Americans are more likely to say that churches and other houses of worship currently have too much influence in politics (37%) rather than too little (28%), while the remaining one-third (34%) say religious groups’ current level of influence on politics is about right.
On balance, U.S. adults have a favorable view about the role religious institutions play in American life more broadly – beyond politics. More than half of the public believes that churches and religious organizations do more good than harm in American society…
The public’s strong opposition to mixing religion with electioneering ties in with the strong support of people of faith for the Johnson Amendment, part of the tax code which helps keep our congregations free of politicization by preventing charitable 501(c)(3) organizations – including churches – from engaging in electioneering for or against a candidate for office. President Donald Trump, somewhat bizarrely, continues to tell audiences that his administration has “destroyed” the Johnson Amendment, but the law remains intact and would require an act of Congress to repeal.
Repeated efforts to undo that law have been met with fierce and successful grassroots opposition from faith leaders and nonprofit organizations. As BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler explained, “[a]s soon as the church joins at the hip with a particular candidate or party, its prophetic witness – its ability to speak truth to power and not risk being co-opted by the government – is hindered.”
For more on this topic, see BJC’s page on the Johnson Amendment, which provides great resources on the importance of the Johnson Amendment and offers ways you can make your voice heard in support of it.