"German Reformed Church Pulpit" by Mbrickn / CC BY-SA 4.0

Few U.S. sermons mention abortion, though discussion varies by religious affiliation and congregation size

Apr 30, 2020

By Dennis Quinn

Abortion remains a contentious issue among U.S. Christians. But when millions of churchgoers file into the pews each week, what do they really hear? A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that just 4% of sermons shared on U.S. church websites in the spring of 2019 discussed abortion even once – and when they did, it was rarely mentioned repeatedly. Still, pastors who broached the topic were nearly unanimous in their opposition.

Although they are relatively rare, these mentions of abortion add up over time: Christian churches that shared their sermons online posted an average of nine sermons each during the eight-week study period – and roughly one-in-five of those congregations (19%) heard at least one sermon that mentioned abortion. To arrive at these conclusions, the Center analyzed nearly 50,000 sermons shared online or livestreamed by more than 6,000 U.S. churches and delivered between April 7 and June 1, 2019 – a period that included Easter.

While the database is not representative of all U.S. Christian sermons, it offers a window into what many Americans hear each week from the pulpit. (See this report for details about how the analysis was conducted.)

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