A new survey finds signs of public uneasiness with the mixing of religion and politics. The number of people who say there has been too much religious talk by political leaders stands at an all-time high since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago. And most Americans continue to say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics.
Nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) now say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders, while 30% say there has been too little. In 2010, more said there was too little than too much religious expression from politicians (37% vs. 29%). The percentage saying there is too much expression of religious faith by politicians has increased across party lines, but this view remains far more widespread among Democrats than Republicans.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted March 7-11 among 1,503 adults, finds that 54% think that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters; 40% say they should express their views on social and political questions. That is largely unchanged over the past four years, but between 1996 and 2006 the balance of opinion on this question consistently tilted in the opposite direction.