When Donald Trump says at his rallies that he will abolish the so-called “Johnson Amendment” he gets wild cheers. (Although I have not heard him talk about this much lately. I think he only brings it up when he talks to evangelicals).
But if this study from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is correct, most of those people cheering at the rallies must have some serious differences with their pastors over whether or not it is appropriate to endorse political candidates from the pulpit.
Or perhaps the people who want the Johnson Amendment abolished attend evangelical churches that are not affiliated with the NAE.
Or perhaps these people don’t attend church (and thus do not have pastors), but still think that pastors endorsing candidates is a good idea.
And if a September 2016 study by Lifeway is correct, about 80% of evangelicals do not want their pastors to endorse candidates.
So who are these people cheering for Trump when he says he will abolish the Johnson Amendment?
Here is a taste of David Gibson’s Religion News Service piece on the NAE study:
The centerpiece of President Trump’s religious freedom agenda, and the carrot he often dangled in front of Christian leaders as he sought their support during the campaign, was a pledge to overturn a 1954 law that says houses of worship can lose their tax-exempt status if they engage in partisan campaigning.
But a new survey of evangelical leaders — mainly pastors whose flocks were crucial to Trump’s victory in November — shows that close to 90 percent of those asked opposed the idea of clergy endorsing politicians from the pulpit.
Read it all here.