Patriotic Displays Are Common in July 4th Church Services; 38% of Pastors Say Their Congregation’s Love for America Sometimes Seems Greater Than Their Love for God

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Protestant pastors say they will worship God and honor America at church services this weekend, and they’re not too worried churchgoers will confuse the two.

Most pastors (56%) say it’s important to incorporate patriotic elements into worship services the week of July 4th to celebrate America, including 27% who strongly agree, according to a Lifeway Research study of 1,000 U.S. Protestant pastors. Two in 5 pastors (42%) disagree, and 2% aren’t sure.

These findings represent a small decrease from a 2016 Lifeway Research study, when 61% of pastors felt such worship service elements were important.

“While not a date on the Christian calendar, most Protestant churches adjust their worship services to acknowledge the birth of the United States each July,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “For most churches, it isn’t just tradition. The majority of pastors agree it’s important to incorporate it into the worship experience.”

Pastors with no college degree (70%) or a bachelor’s degree (67%) are more likely to see elements celebrating America as important than those with a master’s (46%) or doctoral degree (50%).

Evangelical pastors (64%) are more likely than their mainline counterparts (48%) to value timely patriotic elements in the worship service.

Denominationally, Pentecostal pastors (77%) and those at non-denominational churches (70%) are more likely than Methodist (52%), Lutheran (48%), Presbyterian/Reformed (44%) and Restorationist movement pastors (29%) to see value in special Independence Day additions.

Younger pastors, those 18 to 44, are the most likely to say the worship service doesn’t need patriotic additions (65%).

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Source: Baptist Press