Dec 11, 2018

In yet another last-ditch effort to gut the longstanding federal law that protects the integrity of elections and nonprofits, congressional leadership is trying to include language that undermines the Johnson Amendment in the proposed year-end tax bill.  

The tax bill released this week is the second attempt to all but repeal the law that ensures nonprofits, including houses of worship, don’t endorse or oppose political candidates for public office. House Republicans also continue to try to include similar language in the must-pass government funding bill, which still needs to clear Congress before Dec. 21.

“House leadership is trying to ram through language in any bill they can before they give up the gavel in January and it will become much harder for them to repeal the Johnson Amendment,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “We are fighting this battle on multiple fronts because some members of Congress are catering to the Religious Right’s agenda to boost their own political power by breaking down the wall between religion and government.”  

Since early 2017, when President Donald Trump took office and threatened the Johnson Amendment, Americans United has been joined by 106 faith groups and more than 4,500 faith leaders and 5,800 nonprofits in support of the law.

“Not only is there broad public support for the Johnson Amendment, the faith community strongly opposes repealing the law as well,” Laser said. “Thousands of faith leaders across a wide range of religions have said gutting the Johnson Amendment would harm their houses of worship and are speaking out in defense of its protections. It’s time for Congress to start listening.”

More information about the Johnson Amendment is available at Project Fair Play.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.