Americans Want Religion to Play Bigger Role in Politics: Study - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Americans Want Religion to Play Bigger Role in Politics: Study

Pew Research Center releases eye-opening new research ahead of November's midterm elections



    A 72 percent majority of Americans say they think religion is losing clout and should have more influence in politics, according to a fascinating new Pew Research study on religion and public life.

    Pew says its polling of 2,000 adults revealed a five percent increase from 2010 in the number of those who believe religion is losing traction in America and most "see this as a bad thing. Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics."

    Among the discoveries: Nearly half of those polled think churches and other houses of worship should freely publicize political and social views, but when it comes to elections, a 63 percent majority think they should refrain from endorsing candidates; Republicans and those who lean Republican tend more than Democrats and those who lean Democrat to support the blending of church and state, with 38 percent of GOP-associated poll-takers supporting a church's involvement in electoral politics as opposed to 28 percent on the other side.

    Despite progress in societal acceptance for same-sex marriage, Pew's research finds that 50 percent consider homosexuality to be sinful—a five percent jump from last year. And there's a dip in support for gay marriage, with 49 percent in favor and 41 percent against, though poll-takers' attitudes have not changed much since 2013.

    With 2014's midterm elections six weeks away, Pew has uncovered "some signs of discontent within the GOP among its supporters, including evangelicals," the bulk of whom say they think the Republican Party isn't adequately repping their stances on same-sex marriage, abortion, illegal immigration and government spending.

    While evangelicals disgruntled with the GOP want more conservatism on these issues, Republican voters who aren't evangelical express ambivalence on whether the party should go further to the right or take a more liberal approach.