Poll: 29 Percent of Pastors Discuss Candidates in Pulpit
A majority of regular churchgoers say their pastor has discussed the importance of voting, while 29 percent say their pastor has taken sides, in sermons, in the presidential race, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, Baptist Press reports. The Oct. 24-28 poll shows that among all churchgoers -- Protestants and Catholics who attend church at least monthly -- 15 percent say their pastor's message has been more supportive of President Obama while 14 percent say their pastor's sermon has been more supportive of Mitt Romney. However, what "people are hearing" from their pastor "varies greatly by race," the survey shows. For example, among black Protestants, 45 percent say their pastor has supported Obama, with none in the sample saying their pastor backed Romney. Among white evangelicals, 26 percent say their pastor has been more supportive of Romney but only 5 percent say the pastor has been more supportive of Obama. Among white Catholics, 21 percent say the pastor has supported Romney and 4 percent say the pastor has backed Obama, and white mainline churchgoers say the pastor also was more likely to support Romney (13 percent to Obama's 7 percent). Still, though, "most regular churchgoers say the messages they are hearing at church are neutral" when it comes to the election -- whether or not the pastor mentions the candidates directly. Meanwhile, 52 percent of regular churchgoers say their pastor has discussed the importance of voting. Black Protestant pastors (79 percent) are the most likely to mention it, followed by white evangelical pastors (52 percent), white Catholic clergy (46 percent) and white mainline pastors (32 percent).