Nearly 3 billion dollars have been raised in the 2012 presidential election campaign funds, but most of that money isn’t coming from evangelical leaders. The September Evangelical Leaders Survey showed that 64 percent of evangelical leaders don’t make financial contributions to support political candidates.
“While most evangelical leaders give nothing to political campaigns, those who do don’t give much, don’t give often and keep their donations as private as possible,” said Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Many evangelical leaders explained that they prefer donating to churches and other ministries. Ken Hunn, Executive Director of The Brethren Church, put it this way: “I’d feel better about contributing to something that clarifies rather than creates more confusion and conflict.”
Others expressed realism about the limited impact of their contributions, since the majority of campaign contributions come from a very small percent of donors.
Daniel Henderson, President of Strategic Renewal, said, “So many others fund these campaigns from deep pockets, and I prefer to invest in the kingdom of God. Also, once on their lists, it is difficult to get off.”
Still some evangelical leaders give, and do so with conviction. Don Sweeting, President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, said, “While the gospel must be our first message, rendering to Caesar in a democratic republic means that Caesar has invited us to participate in the political process. If we do not, we lose our influence and the consequences are huge – religious freedom, tax deductions for charitable donations, interference with Christian education, among other issues are affected by this.”
One leader answered, “Do you make financial contributions to support political candidates?” by saying, “Yes. Many! National, state and local.”
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.