(CNSNews.com) – A new Pew Research Center poll released Monday reveals that most American churchgoers, 64 percent, hear about political and social issues from the pulpit and the top three social and political issues that churchgoers hear discussed are religious liberty, homosexuality, and abortion.
Thirty-two percent of churchgoers surveyed said they’ve heard clergy preach in defense of religious liberty and just two percent said their clergy doesn’t believe that religious liberty is really under attack. Forty percent total have heard the issue mentioned.
Thirty-nine percent of churchgoers have heard homosexuality mentioned by clergy, with 20 percent hearing their clergy speak out against homosexuality and 12 percent speaking in favor of its acceptance.
On the abortion issue, 22 percent say they have heard sermons against abortion, while three percent have heard clergy argue in support of abortion. Twenty-nine percent say they’ve heard the issue brought up.
Sixty-four percent of those who said they regularly (at least once or twice a month) attended religious services say they heard clergy at their church or other place of worship speak about at least one of the following issues: religious liberty, abortion, immigration, environmental issues, homosexuality, and economic inequality.
Almost half (46 percent) of the churchgoers said that religious leaders had spoken out on multiple issues.
On immigration, 19 percent of churchgoers report that their clergy have emphasized the need to welcome and support immigrants, compared with four percent whose clergy argued for stricter immigration enforcement.
Churchgoers reported that 16 percent of their religious leaders spoke out in favor of protecting the environment, while one percent said they’ve heard their clergy speak out against environmental regulations.
In general, respondents indicated that discussion of political issues is not all that common in their congregations. Twenty-nine percent said that political and social issues were discussed only sometimes, and 49 percent said they were discussed rarely or never. Only seven percent said their clergy spoke “often” on social and political issues.
The Pew survey was conducted online and by mail June 5 - July 7 among a nationally representative sample of 4,602 adults.