Pastors’ Shocker: Significant Number Don’t Believe in Religious Liberty [3 Things You Should Know]

Craig HueyChurch, Religious Liberty2 Comments

From the American revolution to today, pastors have been the conscience of local communities.

During the War of Independence, pastors helped rally people to support freedom.

Pastors were at the center of the great social movements, including abolishing slavery.

Pastors, along with local and state politics, were the leading voices to help bring change and elect good candidates.

But the influence of pastors in politics has changed over the years … partially due to the Johnson Amendment, which was added to the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

This provision prohibited all non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office. Pastors were silenced from speaking freely about candidates, or other policies, for fear of losing their tax-exempt status.

President Trump has attempted to remove that fear by issuing an executive order in 2017 directing the IRS to not punish pastors if they violate the Johnson Amendment.

In addition to the negative impact of the Johnson Amendment, the teaching regarding religious liberty provided by theological seminaries and pastor training conferences has been either nonexistent or distorted.

Now, after a four-year study by Barna, shocking and troubling revelations about what pastors think about religious liberty have been exposed.

The essence of religious liberty – as defined by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – is that the federal government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion.


Christian pastors should agree with this religious freedom guarantee 100%.

Sadly, they don’t.

Here is the troubling reality: a growing number of pastors don’t understand or support religious liberty.

And over time, the number of pastors who do support religious liberty is decreasing.

Here are 3 things you should know:

  1. Not all pastors agree on what religious freedom is.

Here’s what non-mainline-denomination Protestant (mostly evangelical) pastors believe regarding religious freedom:

  • 88% believe it means the freedom to practice their faith without interference from government. [True]
  • 7% believe it’s the freedom from laws and policies that favor one religion over others. [False]
  • 4% say it’s the freedom to make personal choices without interference from religious organizations. [False]

Mainline Protestant pastors agreed with the constitutional definition of religious freedom 75%.

Catholic priests agreed 90%.

Non-Christian religious leaders agreed 58%.

  1. Many pastors don’t recognize the extent to which religious freedom is under attack today … or how much it has decreased.

In 2014, 55% of all Protestant pastors said they were concerned about religious freedom becoming more restricted in the next 5 years.

In 2015/2016, the number dropped to 49%.

This makes no sense, as laws and Supreme Court decisions took away religious freedom, and Christian business owners, employees and government workers were facing growing religious discrimination.

In 2017, the percentage of pastors concerned about a further reduction in religious freedom dropped to 34%.

This may be due in part to the actions of President Trump and the new Supreme Court, which slowed, stopped and/or reversed previous anti-religious government actions.

But 34% is far too low of a number considering the massive assault on religious liberty taking place by the Deep State and its progressive allies.

  1. Pastors who aren’t concerned about religious freedom restrictions in the future increased from 1 in 8 (12%) in 2014 to 1 in 5 (20%) in 2017.

As spiritual leaders and guardians of religious liberty, it is pastors who should:

  • Be aware of what’s going on at all levels of government
  • Be concerned about standing up against attacks on religious liberty
  • Be a voice for affirming our First Amendment rights guaranteeing freedom of religious expression

What about your pastor?

What do you think? Email me at

Here are the rest of this week’s articles:

2 Comments on “Pastors’ Shocker: Significant Number Don’t Believe in Religious Liberty [3 Things You Should Know]”

  1. This is troubling indeed! But then I just responded today to an online from United Methodist Church, Church and Society email, picturing a Methodist group with signs supporting passage of the egregious, tyrannical, unconstitutional, anti-Liberty bill HR5 (IN-) Equality Act. I told them they had become enemies of God.

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