FFRF is celebrating a huge victory for state/church separation. The new tax bill leaves intact the wise ban on church electioneering: the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment keeps nonprofits nonpartisan. Under it, churches and tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofits may not endorse or oppose political candidates. They may discuss and advocate on issues; they may not come out for or against specific candidates. The second-highest court in the United States decided nearly 20 years ago that the rule does not infringe free speech rights or religious freedom.
The House version of the tax bill gutted the Johnson Amendment while the Senate version left it untouched.
Mobilizing its 30,000 members, FFRF sent out a number of alerts on the tax reform bill to save the Johnson Amendment. Members inundated their legislators with one message: Protect the Johnson Amendment.
An influx of dark money flowing through churches into politics could have led to heavy government regulation of houses of worship. The churches actually dodged a bullet, clarifies FFRF’s Andrew Seidel, noting that where money goes, regulation follows.