At the National Prayer Breakfast a little more than a year ago, President Trump vowed to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a federal law prohibiting houses of worship, charitable nonprofits and private foundations from endorsing, opposing or financially supporting political candidates and parties. Fortunately for religious congregations — and the entire charitable sector — he has not yet fulfilled his promise.
Trump’s failure to eliminate the Johnson Amendment is not for lack of will. Members of Congress pursued similar goals to the president, attempting to include language that would weaken the law as part of the tax reform bill, but that effort ultimately failed. And at one point, Trump described his goal of eliminating the prohibition on election activity as potentially his “greatest contribution to Christianity — and other religions.”
Allowing partisan political activity by tax-exempt houses of worship goes far beyond a single sermon. Imagine that in every sermon for the six months leading up to the election, a pastor endorsed various candidates and reiterated those endorsements. Suppose in every regular bulletin or email over those six months, the pastor or church leaders focused on endorsements. Nothing would stop a church, synagogue or mosque from using its volunteers to phone-bank or canvass for an endorsed candidate or pass the plate for political contributions at the same time it accepted tithes and offerings.
Read the full story at The Washington Post