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Friday, August 20, 2010

Pew Data on Religion and Politics

The Pew Center for the People and the Press has another poll showing that many Americans incorrectly think that the president is a Muslim. (See yesterday's post.) In addition:

The survey also finds about half of the public (52%) says that churches should keep out of politics, while 43% say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political questions. That is largely unchanged from 2008, but over the previous decade (from 1996 to 2006), narrow majorities had expressed support for churches’ involvement in political matters.

The decline since 2006 in the number saying that churches should speak out on social and political issues has been broad-based, including Democrats and Republicans and people from a variety of religious backgrounds. The percentage of black Protestants who say churches should speak out on political matters has dropped sharply, going from 69% in 2006 to 53% today.

Despite the growing opposition to political involvement on the part of churches, most people continue to say they want political leaders who are religious. About six-in-ten (61%) agree that it is important that members of Congress have strong religious beliefs. And as in previous surveys, a slight plurality (37%) says that in general there has been too little expression of religious faith and prayer by political leaders.