The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Secularists, non-Christians and progressive Christians have long been critics of Religious Right leader Jerry Falwell Jr. But lately Falwell has had to deal with flak from an unexpected source: fellow evangelicals who are angry over his support for President Donald J. Trump and his blend of nationalist and fundamentalist rhetoric.
Back in the late 1990s when Roy Moore was a local judge in Etowah County, Ala., he was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for opening courtroom sessions with prayer and displaying a hand-carved Ten Commandments monument in his courtroom.
Moore had garnered national attention with his vow to defy any ruling against him, and his defenders thought the time was right to bring him to Washington, D.C., for a press conference.
Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday doubled-down on their efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which is the provision in current law that prohibits tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates.
Thanks to a vote taken by members of the House Ways and Means Committee, now all tax-exempt organizations – including houses of worship, charitable nonprofits and foundations – could endorse or oppose candidates in all of their activities.
Comedian and political commentator John Oliver recently reminded America of something Americans United has been saying for years: Kentucky taxpayers drew the short straw when their government officials gave creationist Ken Ham sweetheart deals to build his Ark Encounter theme park.
When Republican leaders in the House of Representatives unveiled their tax legislation earlier this month, the measure included a harmful provision that would severely weaken the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that prevents all tax-exempt organizations – including houses of worship, charitable nonprofits, foundations and others – from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.
The political shockwave set off in Virginia is dominating today’s headlines, but it’s important to remember that there were other elections last night. One of them, from Colorado, should not be overlooked.
A year ago, when Donald Trump and Mike Pence were elected to the highest offices in the land, Americans United warned of the many threats this administration posed to church-state separation. We promised that if any of those threats came to fruition, we would be ready to fight back and defend religious freedom.
Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee began preliminary discussion over the new tax bill, which includes language that severely weakens the Johnson Amendment, a provision of the tax code that protects the integrity of tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose candidates.
The tax bill, if passed as is, would allow churches – but not other tax-exempt organizations – to endorse political candidates if the endorsement happens during “religious services and gatherings.”
Tomorrow is election day in some parts of the country. Most political analysts are keeping a close eye on Virginia’s gubernatorial race, seeing it as a mini-referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump.
But there are other interesting races as well. One of them is taking place in Douglas County, Colo., where a school board election has attracted national interest.