Majority of Black Americans say sermons should address political topics, Pew Research Survey Finds
Pew Research Center
For black Americans, faith and racial justice have long intersected. Throughout history, houses of worship served as central gathering places where black communities discussed political issues and civic action.
Given that tradition, black Americans and white Americans have differing views on the role that political topics such as race relations and criminal justice reform should play in church sermons, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year, before the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests.
Six-in-ten black adults (62%) say it is important for houses of worship to address “political topics such as immigration and race relations” – including 23% who say covering these topics is “essential.” By contrast, 36% of white Americans say it is important for sermons to deal with these topics, and only 8% say it is essential. Four-in-ten white Americans (42%) say these themes should not be discussed in sermons. Hispanics are more divided on this issue than black or white Americans are; about half (53%) say it is important for sermons to cover political issues.
In addition, black Americans are more likely than white or Hispanic Americans to say they have heard political topics such as race relations and criminal justice reform addressed in sermons.
There is a similar pattern on the topic of criminal justice reform. Black Americans are nearly three times as likely as white adults to say they heard a sermon dealing with criminal justice reform (32% vs. 12%) in 2019, with Hispanics falling between the two (20%).