Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Interview with Hon. Sam Rohr re: The Johnson Amendment
Sam and I discuss the outline of the John Amendment, the possible repeal and what this means to 501c3's in the times to come.
At its core, the Johnson Amendment should deeply offend religious leaders.
The Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954, is a speech restriction in the tax code that prohibits all nonprofits—including churches—from “participating” or “intervening” in elections (though no one, including tax experts, really knows what that means). President Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to repeal the Johnson Amendment. And now, the House of Representatives has included an amendment to the law in its tax bill that would fix the Johnson Amendment’s unconstitutional speech restrictions.
The bottom line is that the Johnson Amendment infringes on the First Amendment rights of churches and pastors because it allows federal bureaucrats to determine what pastors can and can’t say.
Yet, there seems to be some confusion about the purpose of the Johnson Amendment and a willful ignorance of its practical effects.
At National Review, Alex Entz writes that keeping the Johnson Amendment protects the church, as “A close connection between the church and daily state affairs will, inevitably, destroy the church.” It’s similar to the claims of many others, including some religious leaders, who assert the Johnson Amendment helps preserve the “separation between church and state.”
So we need the government to protect the purity of the church?
In making this argument, Johnson Amendment advocates imply that churches cannot be trusted to make wise decisions for themselves – that they need the government to ensure that churches do not become too intertwined with politics.
It is Free