Trump Repeats His Call to End the Ban on Church Politicking

Posted on July 22, 2016

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump repeated his call on June 21, 2016, to end the ban on church politicking.  

Since 1954, the Internal Revenue Service banned tax-exempt organizations, such as churches and nonprofit groups, from engaging in partisan political activities.  It essentially bans political campaign activity by charities and churches because churches and charities do not pay taxes.  If they were allowed to engage in political campaign activity, the taxpaying public would essentially be subsidizing partisan political activity.  

Trump stated that if he lifted the ban “I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity—and other religions—is to allow you, when you talk religious liberty, to go and speak openly, and if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it.”  He also called religious freedom “the No. 1 question.”  

Houses of worship and charities are not forced to apply for or receive tax exempt status.  They choose this status because of the benefits provided by that classification.  In return, the government does not allow these groups to engage in partisan politicking which prevents these groups from receiving tax breaks and then using the money saved to influence political elections.  

Further, the ban protects religious believers from having their houses of religious worship turned into houses of political worship.  Some say that the ban restricts free speech.  The ban does not bar our leaders of charities or churches from speaking about what their purpose is or what their religion believes is true or how religious beliefs and values relate to political issues.  However, it does bar them from taking explicit stands on political parties and candidates.  We agree.  What do you think?

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