The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the tax code that prohibits all non-profit organizations, including houses of worship, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. This provision has been protecting the integrity of our tax-exempt charities, houses of worship and our elections for more than 60 years.
The confirmation hearing for federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, got under way yesterday, with some senators mentioning religious freedom during their opening remarks.
Gorsuch will start taking questions today, and the issue is likely to resurface again. It will be interesting to hear what Gorsuch has to say. In AU’s view, some of his opinions on religious freedom are troubling, and that’s why we’re opposed to his nomination.
A few weeks ago on a television show, I mentioned that something “President Bush” was doing was completely inappropriate. The next day, I learned that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was being pilloried in conservative media for mistakenly referring to our current president as “President Bush” as well. I can’t speak for the minority leader, but I can chalk up my error to wishful thinking.
The bad news: At least one legislator wasted no time in re-introducing a bill that would roll back the so-called Johnson Amendment, which prohibits nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.
It’s a new year and a new Congress, but a familiar piece of legislation already has darkened the door of the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) wasted no time in resuming his efforts to roll back the prohibition on nonprofits endorsing or opposing political candidates. On Tuesday – the first day the 115th Congress was in session – Jones introduced H.R. 172 to “restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.”
When I heard that President-elect Donald Trump on Friday had nominated U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general, I immediately remembered something that happened in 1999.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State said today that it will work vigorously to oppose any attempts by the administration of Donald J. Trump to undermine religious freedom in the United States.
When Americans United Faith Organizer Bill Mefford road-tripped to North Carolina recently to speak at churches for a series of workshops on religion and politics, he knew bridging the gap between faith leaders and church-state separation would be an opportunity.
“The heart of all justice work is relationships,” Mefford said, and indeed, building relationships became thematic throughout his Sept. 19-23 trip.
It seems in recent years that whenever churches break the federal law prohibiting houses of worship and other 501(c)(3) non-profits from endorsing or opposing candidates, the Internal Revenue Service treats those violations with a shrug. And with all the talk this election season about repealing that anti-politicking law, Americans United felt it necessary to ask the IRS what it plans to do going forward to enforce a law that is good for both democracy and faith.