American Churches in National Politics

August 15, 1928

Report Outline
Early Political Activity of the Churches
Anti-Catholic Movements and the Protestant Clergy
The Churches and the Slavery Issue
The Churches and the Prohibition Movement
The Churches and Foreign Relations

The Asheville conference or religious leaders to organize opposition to the candidacy of Governor Smith in the South, the campaign undertaken by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union to defeat the Democratic nominee, the pledging of the support of the Christian Endeavor Society to the Republican nominee, and other activities by Protestant clergymen and religious organizations in connection with the 1928 presidential campaign have again called up for debate the old question of “the preacher in politics”. On the one hand, questions have been raised as to the wisdom and propriety of clerical activity in the political field - which have been answered, on the other, with vigorous pronouncements upon the right and duty of the spiritual leaders of the people to make their influence felt when moral questions are presented for decision by the voters in a political campaign.

In no national campaign during the last two generations have the issues - real or fancied - made a greater appeal to the church-going population and the clergy of all denominations than those raised by the positions, the personalities and the associations of the major party candidates in 1928. In the foreground stands the prohibition issue, generally regarded by the evangelical clergy as the greatest moral issue since the abolition of slavery, and in the background the issue raised by the candidacy of a communicant of the Catholic Church for President of the United States.

Organizing activity by the clergy to influence the result of the election in which these issues are to be passed upon has been confined up to this time principally to the southern and border states. Religious leaders in other parts of the country, however, have made vigorous pronouncements from their pulpits upon the issues of the campaign and political activity by the Anti-Saloon League and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union will soon be underway on a nation-wide scale.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Religion and Politics
Jan. 01, 2016  Religious Freedom
Nov. 07, 2014  Religion and Law
Oct. 19, 2012  Understanding Mormonism
Jan. 03, 2012  Sharia Controversy
Jan. 15, 2010  Government and Religion
Feb. 2009  Religious Fundamentalism
Dec. 07, 2007  Protestants Today
Jan. 19, 2007  Future of the Catholic Church
Jul. 30, 2004  Religion and Politics
Nov. 21, 1997  Religious Persecution
Sep. 08, 1995  Catholic Church in the U.S.
Nov. 25, 1994  Religion in America
Oct. 14, 1994  Religion and Politics
Sep. 12, 1986  Getting Religion in Politics
Dec. 14, 1984  Balancing Church and State
Aug. 27, 1976  Politics and Religion
Sep. 09, 1959  Religion in Politics
Jul. 24, 1942  Churches and War
Aug. 15, 1928  American Churches in National Politics
Apr. 09, 1927  The Religious Issue in American Politics
Aug. 01, 1926  The Religious Conflict in Mexico
Lobbying and Special Interests
Religion and Politics