Amid ongoing debate over whether pastors should be allowed to preach on political candidates and issues, a new survey reveals that most pastors do not want the government regulating their sermons.

Seventy-nine percent of surveyed Protestant pastors said they strongly disagree with the statement: “The government should regulate sermons by revoking a church’s tax exemption if its pastor approves of or criticizes candidates based on the church’s moral beliefs or theology.”

Another seven percent “somewhat” disagreed, according to the survey, which was sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund and conducted by LifeWay Research.

Only 10 percent of the pastors agreed with the statement.

The survey, released Monday, comes less than a month before Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an initiative by the Alliance Defense Fund that is designed to “secure the First Amendment rights of pastors in the pulpit.”

Every year since 2008, pastors from across the country joined the initiative by preaching freely on politics and endorsing candidates in the church. The initiative has now become the “Speak Up Movement” with pastors encouraging fellow preachers to speak boldly and biblically.

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