Four out of five Americans think pastors who endorse a candidate in church are inappropriate, according to a report from LifeWay Research.
The report also says that 75 percent of respondents said that churches should just abstain from endorsements altogether.
“Americans already argue about politics enough outside the church,” said LifeWay executive director Scott McConnell. “They don’t want pastors bringing those arguments into worship.”
About 33 percent of evangelicals want churches to be punished if they do choose to endorse a candidate.
“Endorsements from the pulpit are unpopular and most Americans say they are inappropriate,” McConnell said. “But they don’t want churches to be punished for something a pastor said.”
In 2008, only 13 percent of Americans responded to the survey, saying that they agreed that it was appropriate for pastors to publicly endorse candidates during a church service. In the most recently released survey, that percentage only grew to 19 percent.
The IRS instituted a ban on preachers endorsing candidates during church services in the 1950s. The ban is known as the Johnson Amendment.
Donald Trump has said he would eliminate the ban if elected president and said it would be his “greatest contribution to Christianity” if he could reverse the ban.
Publication date: September 9, 2016