GOP tax bill proposal overturns old statute that affected churches

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A key caveat to the House GOP tax bill put forth Thursday is the overturning of a 1950s era statute that prohibits churches from supporting political candidates. At the very end of the 429-page legislation, the statute is referenced.

It states that churches should not lose their tax-exempt status based on statements about political candidates made during the course of religious services.

The change to what is known as the Johnson Amendment has long been a priority of leaders on the religious right. They say the policy violates the First Amendment.

President Trump vowed to repeal the amendment during the campaign, saying it would “give our churches their voice back.” 

Shortly after taking office, Trump said he would “totally destroy” the amendment, which allows the IRS to revoke a church’s tax exempt status if it’s deemed to be participating in a political campaign.

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