64% of Pastors Feel They Can’t Speak Out on Social Issues Like Abortion

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 8, 2019   |   6:10PM   |   Washington, DC

“Why don’t more pastors speak out against abortion?” is a common question among pro-life Christians.

New research from the Barna Group helps to answer that question.

When asked if they felt limited by their congregation to speak out about social issues, 64 percent of pastors said yes, FaithWire reports. According to the poll, 69 percent said they felt pressured to speak about those issues.

On the abortion/pro-life issue specifically, 18 percent said they felt limited in their ability to speak out, while 17 percent said they felt pressured to speak on the issue.

“The pressure for leaders, and especially faith leaders, to satisfy everyone on all sides and to avoid offense is very real today, especially in the digital era,” said Roxanne Stone, editor-in-chief of Barna. “The public nature of social media only increases the stakes.”

The findings are fairly consistent with a 2016 Pew Research Center poll that examined how often Americans hear about political issues from the pulpit. Abortion was third on the list, with religious liberty and homosexuality ranking first and second. Other issues included immigration, the environment and poverty.

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According to the Pew poll, 29 percent said their clergy member spoke out about abortion during a service. Most said their clergy spoke out against abortion (22 percent), while a few (3 percent) said their clergy spoke in support of abortion.

Some clergy tend to be reluctant to speak about abortion because it is a sensitive topic. However, there are many Protestant and Catholic religious leaders who are vocal advocates for the right to life of unborn babies. In 2015, pro-life blogger Julie Klose listed 33 Christian leaders who frequently speak out about abortion.