Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of evangelical Christian leaders in Orlando FL last week, Donald Trump vowed to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax exempt organizations, such as churches, from participating in any political activities or endorsing political candidates.
The Johnson Amendment gave the federal government powers our founding fathers sought to keep from them. It was named after former President Lyndon Johnson who introduced the bill in 1954. By requiring organizations to apply for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization, the federal government then used the law to control churches.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain exercise taxes. (Source: Wikipedia)
Instead of limiting the powers of the federal government, the Johnson Amendment has effectively limited the powers of Christian leaders to speak freely about our political processes for the past 62 years. It now seems normal to most of us for Christian leaders to remain silent about politics because it is all we have ever known, but it was not that way for our nation’s first 165 years when churches were vocal about political events and were exempt from paying taxes without needing to apply for tax exempt status.
Donald Trump seems like an unlikely person to champion this cause, but he claims he will take actions to overturn this law. In his Orlando speech, Trump won the crowd by throwing out his prepared comments, turning off the teleprompter, and speaking off the cuff. He claims religious freedom is, “So important to me.”
Evangelist Pat Robertson claims, “The weight of the IRS comes against conservative Christians on the conservative end of the spectrum.” CBN News reported this story in the video below.
Given the sins of our country, a Trump victory and follow through on this campaign promise might sound like wishful thinking. Surely it could only be possible if God’s people repent (2 Chronicles 7:14). Even then, it would be by the grace and mercy of God.
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.