Faith and political stumping bad mix, say voters

A recent poll of American voters indicates a distaste for, as they perceive it, candidates’ use of their faith to influence the electorate. Sixty-eight percent of respondents agreed with this statement: “Presidential candidates should not use their religion or faith to influence voters to support them.” The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the Interfaith Alliance, surveyed 1,000 adults and had a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points. And it wasn’t just the atheists and agnostics who responded in the affirmative, according to a report from Religion News Service:

Even regular churchgoers think presidential hopefuls should not use their faith as a campaign tool: Almost 60 percent of survey respondents who regularly attend religious services agreed with the statement.

The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said candidates went “too far” at the Value Voters summit as they tried to “out-Christian” each other.

“We’re not electing a pastor-in-chief, we’re electing a commander-in-chief,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Candidates can certainly speak about their religion and beliefs as “points of identification for who they are,” Gaddy said, but they push the limits when they imply that voters should support them because of their religion.

The whole article is available at the Pew Forum.

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