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Americans (and More Evangelicals) Want Churches out of Politics

Pew survey also raises questions about whether Democratic faith outreach is working.

A majority of Americans want religious institutions to keep out of political matters, a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows.

For a full decade, majorities of Americans voiced support for religious institutions speaking out on social and political issues, but the survey found that a narrow majority (52 percent) say churches should keep out of politics.

Among evangelicals, 36 percent say that churches should keep out of politics, a jump from 20 percent who said the same thing in 2004.

"It doesn't mean that conservatives have abandoned the idea that religion should be involved in politics; it seems to be a frustration we're picking up," said Greg Smith, a research fellow with the forum.

The survey also showed that the Democratic Party is seen as slightly less friendly to religion than it was in 2004. The party and the Obama presidential campaign have made numerous efforts to reach out to religious voters since the last presidential election.

Only 37 percent of Americans say ...

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