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Sep 24, 2008

New Research on Politics and the Church

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Some excerpts from the story:

According to a survey released by LifeWay Research, Americans believe churches should not campaign for or endorse political candidates and pastors should only endorse candidates as private citizens outside of a church service...

"There is a longstanding and publicly affirmed view that the pulpit is not the place for politics, particularly endorsements," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. "It would appear this view is still widely held in most sectors of society."

When asked for their level of agreement with the statement, "I believe it is appropriate for churches to publicly endorse candidates for public office," 59 percent said they strongly disagree while 16 percent somewhat disagree...

When it comes to how churches use their resources, Americans believe overwhelmingly that churches should not use those resources to campaign for candidates for public office.

When asked to respond to the statement, "I believe it is appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates for public office," 85 percent disagree including 73 percent who disagree strongly...

When the topic turned to whether churches that publicly endorse candidates should lose their tax-exempt status, a slim majority agree and differences appear along many of the same lines. (Churches that campaign or endorse candidates in violation of IRS prohibitions have been threatened with losing their tax-exempt status.)

Thirty-eight percent strongly agree and 14 percent somewhat agree "that churches who publicly endorse candidates for public office should lose their tax exemption." Twenty-five percent strongly disagree, 17 percent somewhat disagree and 6 percent are not sure.

"Americans overwhelmingly want pastors to stick to faith and not political endorsements," Stetzer said. "However, they are less certain that they want the government to strip them of their tax exemption. A majority do think such churches should lose their tax exemption, but a significant minority does not. Americans don't want churches in politics but they are not as certain they want the government in the churches."

Details here.

What do you think? What does your church do and not do? Why?

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Posted:September 24, 2008 at 12:00 am

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