Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pastors and Clergy Often Disagree on Political Parties.

A new study, reported at the Indiana/Kentucky Courier-Journal, shows that pastors and their clergy often choose to vote on opposite sides of the political divide.

The Presbyterian survey found that 46 percent of members and 49 percent of elders are Republicans, while only 23 percent of pastors are.

Fifty percent of pastors are Democrats, compared with 31 percent of members and 29 percent of elders.

Jack Marcum, coordinator of Research Services, writes that such information may seem unrelated to churches’ core spiritual mission, but that it’s valuable to have.

He noted that many may be surprised that pastors and elders with such contrasting politics “share leadership of congregations in the same religious denomination. Yet they do, and isn’t this information important for those developing … training materials, or trying to match pastors with congregations?”

Being Presbyterian is “just one characteristic among many that defines each of us, and it is intertwined with political identification, age, gender and many others to make us who we are....

“My guess is that many can recall a meeting or situation where political perspectives or other non-religious considerations seemed more influential to some participants than church teachings,” Marcum added. “That’s one reason why, to understand the church, we need social scientists as well as theologians.”

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