(RNS) — As Americans gear up for a long and bitterly contentious presidential election year, their message to religious leaders and institutions couldn’t be clearer: Keep out.

That’s the finding in the latest Pew Research poll, which found that 63% of Americans say churches and other houses of worship should stay out of politics, and 76% said religious congregations should not make political endorsements.

“Most U.S. adults want religious groups to stay out of politics” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

The poll, which Pew conducted online this past March from among 6,364 U.S. adults, also found that slightly more than half of U.S. adults say that the Republican Party is friendly toward religion (54%). Only one in five, (19%), think the Democratic Party

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