WASHINGTON, February 9, 2017 – Last week at the National Prayer Breakfast President Trump vowed to “totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.” The Johnson Amendment bars tax-exempt entities from involvement in political campaigns, preventing non-profit organizations, such as religious non-profits and churches, from taking action or making statements for or against a candidate running for public office. During President Trump’s campaign he promised the evangelical community that he would take down this amendment, and he reiterated that promise with his statement at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Yesterday, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, a national radio show which airs on more than 240 stations across the country. House Majority Whip Scalise shared his concerns with the Johnson Amendment and how the IRS has used the amendment to intimidate churches. "If you are a church, you had to get your sermon approved by the IRS, or else you were scared you might lose your 501c3 status. It’s not the way that free speech works.” Steve went on, “Churches, and any other 501c3 organization, ought to be able to speak freely to their congregation in the course of their daily business. And that’s what we’ll let them do.”
Rep. Scalise went on to explain that amending the Johnson Amendment would not allow churches to campaign, despite what the Left has warned, “In typical Leftist fashion, they come unhinged, and go and just lie about what is being done, because the bill, which of course they did not read, because if you read it, what it says clearly is that it protects the free speech rights of religious organizations and any other 501c3, but it does not let them become political arms. It doesn’t allow them to go and get involved in funding candidates or, as some even in the media have said, it’s going to allow political candidates to take over churches. It’s just ludicrous, some of the things they’re saying.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the host of Washington Watch, added his opposition to the Johnson Amendment, "(It’s) a gag rule, against churches, so that they could not speak against or take action against political candidates. Of course, it’s been manipulated and used to intimidate churches. It’s had this chilling effect on churches and pastors, so that they don’t even talk about political issues, let alone candidates.," concluded Perkins.
To listen to the full interview, click this link: https://soundcloud.com/family-research-council/20170208-steve-scalise