Two tax bills wended their way through Congress this week and their passage could have huge implications for church-state separation. Both the House and Senate bills are called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but they are very different from one another.
Last week, more than 4,000 faith leaders nationwide did their part to urge Congress not to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment, the federal law that protects the integrity of nonprofit organizations – including houses of worship – by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates.
Now it’s your turn.
The assaults on religious freedom and church-state separation by the Trump/Pence administration have fired up a base of already passionate Americans United supporters, and they are ready to fight back. This past weekend, I joined AU’s Field team, chapter leaders and supporters from North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee for a two-day training on grassroots organizing.
President Donald J. Trump had quite a week as more scandals involving Russia, his family and his campaign unfolded. But that didn’t stop him from finding time to talk to Religious Right leaders and do a news interview with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. All the while, his administration and friends in Congress were taking steps to implement the campaign promises he made to allow churches to endorse candidates and to allow religious freedom laws to be used to discriminate.
We need your help now more than ever to defend 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.
Several members of Congress are working with the Trump-Pence administration and have introduced legislation in an effort to – in the president's own words – “totally destroy the Johnson Amendment."
Andre Carson is a Muslim. Jared Polis is Jewish. Dina Titus is Greek Orthodox.
Does it matter? Maybe. Maybe not.
Carson, Polis and Titus are three members of the 111th Congress. On Jan. 6, they and their 532 colleagues will be sworn into office. They will hold hearings, draft legislation and enact laws that affect all of us. Their religious affiliations are important only to them, as long as they respect the constitutional separation of church and state.