Here’s some good news for those of you who believe in that whole church/state division:

[A new] survey suggests that for the first time in more than a decade, there has been a shift away from the view that religious groups should influence social and political issues.

Fifty-two percent of poll respondents said churches should stay quiet, while 46 percent said churches should express political views.

The biggest shift has come among Republicans, one of the authors of the poll said.

“Overall, the number of people who say churches should not endorse political candidates is up slightly, but among Republicans it is up 11 points, and among white evangelical Republicans it is up 19 points,” said Greg Smith, a research fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The best part of all this? The gay angle: “Among people who said gay marriage was a very important issue, the number saying houses of worship should keep out of politics doubled, from 25 percent to 50 percent.” Perhaps that will help quell exclusionary opposition…