Faith Voices: Faith Leaders Are Speaking Out Against Trump’s Plan To ‘Destroy’ The Johnson Amendment

Americans United is unique because we bring religious and non-religious people together to defend the church-state wall.

On many of our issues, these folks may bring different arguments to the table, but they all end up in the same place because church-state separation is key to ensuring religious freedom for people of faith and non-believers alike.

An example is the Johnson Amendment, the federal law that bars tax-exempt, non-profit entities (including houses of worship) from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates. Last Thursday, in an effort to fulfill his promise to “destroy” this law, Donald Trump signed a symbolic executive order aimed at limiting its enforcement. At the same time on Capitol Hill, Congress held a hearing showcasing some Members of Congress’ efforts to further weaken or repeal it.

AU's Bill Mefford educates faith leaders in North Carolina about the Johnson Amendment.

Non-believers and religious people may have varying reasons for supporting this law, but both camps agree that it needs to stay in place.

For religious leaders, nothing less than the integrity of their houses of worship is at stake. If churches become tools for partisan campaigns, their charitable missions and their focus on community service will inevitably suffer. They’ll become cogs in some candidate’s political machine. That’s a recipe for division that is guaranteed to tear congregations apart.

That is likely why polls show that most religious leaders don’t want to overturn the Johnson Amendment.

Today, Americans United and allied groups are launching a new campaign to help religious leaders amplify their voices. The new Faith Voices website is a place where faith leaders can come together and sign a letter to Congress to send a clear message: Hands off the Johnson Amendment!

You can help. If you’re a faith leader, please go to the site and sign the letter. If you aren’t a faith leader, you can still help: Share this important campaign with faith leaders you know and with friends and family.

It’s imperative that members of the clergy speak out – not only do they have a lot to lose if Trump succeeds in crippling the Johnson Amendment, but Trump is also falsely claiming that the faith community wants this change.

With your help, faith leaders can send a powerful message to Congress that they – like non-religious people – don’t want our faith communities to behave like political action committees.

Do your part. Help Americans United get the word out today about Faith Voices!