Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.
This morning, 99 religious and denominational organizations sent a letter to Congress supporting the Johnson Amendment, which is the law that protects tax-exempt houses of worship by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose candidates. The letter also urged members of the House and Senate to reject calls from President Donald Trump to repeal or weaken the law.
As Congress and President Donald Trump gear up to tackle tax reform, they’d be wise to pay attention to the majority of Americans who don’t want tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, to endorse or oppose political candidates.
Religious and secular groups are speaking out against President Donald J. Trump’s call to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that prohibits non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
Trump blasted the no-politicking rule during the Feb. 2 National Prayer Breakfast, and Religious Right groups have joined the chorus.
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.”