One of the reasons that the court evangelicals love Donald Trump is because they believe he will get rid of the so-called “Johnson Amendment,” the clause in the tax code that prevents churches from endorsing political candidates. There are even some court evangelicals who believe that Trump has already eliminated it.
In reality, the Johnson Amendment is still on the books. In December 2017, conservative politicians failed to remove it from the tax code. Let the record show that the Johnson Amendment is still alive and well. The spending bill that the House passed yesterday did not repeal it.
Tom Gjelten has it covered at National Public Radio. Here is a taste:
Among those who pushed hard to get rid of the Johnson Amendment were Vice President Pence and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., along with other conservative members of Congress.
Scalise’s press secretary, Lauren Fine, said the amendment’s repeal “remains a priority” for the Louisiana congressman but that the provision fell victim this week to the bipartisan negotiation over the spending bill. “It’s unfortunate that this was not one of the things that made it in,” Fine said.
The drive to repeal the amendment was led by conservative activists such as Ralph Reed and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. and had strong backing from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal aid organization. Since 2008, the ADF has promoted “Pulpit Freedom Sundays” as occasions when pastors should challenge the prohibition against political activity by preaching openly about the moral qualifications of candidates seeking office.
The campaign has never gained much momentum, however, perhaps because relatively few pastors appear to feel constrained by the amendment, and because surveys show Americans don’t want to hear more politics from the pulpit.
Read the entire piece here.