Slightly more than half of the public (54%) says that churches should keep out of politics, compared with 40% who say religious institutions should express their views on social and political matters. This is the third consecutive poll conducted over the past four years in which more people have said churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics than said they should express their views on social and political topics. By contrast, between 1996 and 2006 the balance of opinion on this question consistently tilted in the opposite direction.Sooo ... only 40 per cent think that the churches should express opinions on social and political questions!
That's not, of course, to say that the majority of Americans would reject all policies that are difficult to justify on purely secular (such as utilitarian, for example) grounds. They may not have thought it through in that way. Perhaps, for example, many of them think that the churches should keep out of politics, while they still think the state should enforce various moral ideas that are (as a matter of fact) historically entangled with religion and/or difficult to justify outside of a theological context. There is a difference between being opposed to churches speaking up on social and political matters and being opposed to the enforcement of traditional morality that is (as a matter of fact) entangled with religion.
A small disclaimer - in my case, I'm not actually opposed to the churches expressing views on political matters, though I don't think their expressed views should be based on theological considerations (such as the idea that there is a an inviolable God-given order of nature, or that our sexual organs have "proper" functions within a teleological and sacramental order of things, or simply that certain things are forbidden or commanded by God).
If they wish to put views based on secular considerations such as the worldly harms that many people might suffer if social security payments are not raised, I have no objections. Anyone can say that and I won't object merely because of the identity of the speaker. And even if they do put views based specifically on theological considerations, their freedom of speech to do so should not be impaired.
Still, with whatever disclaimers and caveats we may wish to introduce, this survey provides still another indication that a lot of people in industrialised nations are broadly in favour of secular government. Not only that, there is currently an upward trend. As far as I'm concerned, that's good news. Those of us who argue in favour of secular government are not involved in some kind of futile, merely symbolic battle.