Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has made it clear that he plans to protect our religious liberties promised by the United States Constitution. This is in direct opposition to Hillary Clinton who asserted, “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” One of the most powerful promises that Trump has made to pastors and evangelicals in particular is to get rid of the Johnson Amendment.
Not sure what the Johnson Amendment is? It is a tax rule started by the liberal Lyndon B. Johnson back in 1954 when he was being criticized by churches. According to a Washington Post article about the law, “the rule bars tax-exempt charitable groups, which the Internal Revenue Service calls ‘section 501(c)(3) organizations,’ from endorsing candidates and getting involved in political campaigns. Because churches fall under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code, the ban applies to them as well.”
Many consider the law, understandably, to be a violation of their first amendment rights. It may not have been Johnson’s intention, but Trump is right when he says that it “silences the church.” It takes away the freedom of pastors across the nation to exercise their rights to free speech. Due to this, preachers and leaders are unable to act as the leaders for their people and their local areas without threatening their tax exempt status.
Pastors and leaders, especially in a political climate as anti-Christian as the one that we are currently in, need to be able to speak out about the issues and the candidates that are important without fear. The Johnson Amendment must be repealed.