As hundreds of pastors across America prepare to defy the IRS on Sunday, October 7, by endorsing political candidates from their pulpits, a survey by LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, finds that nearly 90 percent of America's clergy think that they should not use their pulpits for such endorsements. The survey of 1,000 Protestant clergy revealed that only 10 percent believe that it is appropriate to influence their parishioners in the pulpit by favoring a particular candidate, while 87 percent said it is inappropriate.
LifeWay research director Scott McConnell said the research indicated that pastors “clearly respect the sacred desk of the pulpit enough to discourage its use to affect elections.”
The survey also revealed that only 44 percent of pastors had personally endorsed candidates outside of the pulpit. “Less than half the pastors indicated that they had done that this year,” said McConnell, while adding that it appeared “two-thirds of them have to some extent, because only 33 percent 'strongly disagree' that they've endorsed candidates from the pulpit.”
There were differences in the responses between those who self-identified as “evangelical” pastors and those who said they were “mainline,” with 86 percent of the evangelicals saying that pastors should not endorse a candidate from the pulpit, compared to 91 percent of mainline pastors.
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo: Minister delivering a serious sermon in church via Shutterstock