The Johnson Amendment, passed by Congress in 1954, restricts churches from maintaining tax-exempt status on the basis of active political partisanship.
President Donald Trump had discussed parting ways with the amendment, and Thursday two GOP lawmakers approached Congress with the necessary framework.
Rep. Jody Hice, a conservative pastor from Georgia, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise proposed the allowance of churches to engage in political activities during traditional hours while maintaining fundamental tax exemption. Hice and Scalise also suggested churches would have to severely limit any spending in favor of political action.
“For too long, the IRS has used the Johnson Amendment to silence and threaten religious institutions and charitable entities,” Hice read aloud from a statement. “As a minister who has experienced intimidation from the IRS firsthand, I know just how important it is to ensure that our churches and nonprofit organizations are allowed the same fundamental rights as every citizen of this great nation.”
Earlier Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump doubled down on a campaign promise to write away the Johnson Amendment.
“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” Trump said.
H/T: The Hill
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