Lawmakers Tell Committee To Protect Johnson Amendment

More than 90 lawmakers are urging their colleagues in Congress to preserve the law relating to partisan political activity by houses of worship and nonprofits

The Oct. 10 letter was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee, which is debating tax reform. It urges members of the committee not to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amend­ment, a more than 60-year-old federal law that protects the integrity of nonprofits, including houses of worship, by ensuring that they don’t endorse or oppose candidates.

“Americans do not want our houses of worship, char­itable nonprofits, and foundations to become points of leverage for partisan politics,” the letter read. “Nor do they want tax-exempt, charitable contributions to be funneled into political campaigns.”

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who was among the signers, emphasized that protecting the Johnson Amendment is good for church-state separation.

“The Johnson amendment not only ensures a separation of church and state, but it ensures our Democracy can be powered by people not PACs,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

Americans United and several allied organizations expressed support for the letter.