The Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump regarding his May 4, 2017, Executive Order that requires the IRS to not pursue churches or religious organizations that engage in political speech.
The prohibition against churches or religions from engaging in political speech is called the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment prohibits a church or religious organization from speaking out about political issues or endorsing a candidate. Any religious organization that engages in political speech risks losing its tax exempt status.
Some feel that the Johnson Amendment illegally restricts free speech that is permitted by the United States Constitution. Others feel that repealing political activity restrictions on churches will allow wealthy individuals to make donations to their church and receive a charitable contribution deduction on their tax return.
The church, now unfettered by political speech restrictions, can then give this money to fund political candidates which may lead to the abuse of campaign finance laws. The lawsuit takes the position that Trump’s Executive Order is unconstitutional. We feel that churches cannot have it both ways. If a church wishes to engage in political speech, it should lose its tax exempt status. What do you think?
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