Johnson Amendment protects interests of both church and government

by Kathryn Freeman on February 2, 2017 in CLC

Kathryn Freeman, public policy director of the Christian Life Commission, released the following statement in response to President Trump's announced intention to do away with the Johnson Amendment:

“President Trump said Thursday he would destroy a centerpiece of church-state separation in the the United States -- the Johnson Amendment. This 1954 amendment has clearly protected the tax-exempt status of churches as non-political entities dedicated to the common good of our communities, states and nation. Pastors are free now to express their views on political issues, but they cannot endorse political candidates as a function of the church if the church wants to be free from paying taxes.

"The Constitution prohibits the federal government from establishing any religion and it equally guarantees the free exercise of religion. The Johnson Amendment in no way hinders these constitutional requirements.

"From a church perspective, this proposal is even more devastating. When churches get caught up in partisan politics, it undermines their message of Christ's good news for all people."

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