General story

Church-politics provision removed from tax bill

President Trump signs an executive order in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on May 4, 2017, asking the IRS to use "maximum enforcement discretion" over the regulation known as the Johnson Amendment, which applies to churches and nonprofits. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic senator taking part in talks on the GOP tax package says a provision allowing churches to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status won’t be in the final bill.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has released a statement announcing the decision by the House-Senate committee that’s blending the two separate tax bills into a final package. Democrats had pushed for the move.

The tax bill passed by the House calls for repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a law that bans tax-exempt charitable organizations such as churches from participating directly or indirectly in any political campaign or supporting a candidate. Repeal wasn’t included in the Senate version of the bill.


BACKGROUND: The ’Splainer: What is the Johnson Amendment and why did Trump target it?
COMMENT: Killing the Johnson Amendment is about lots more than religion


About the author

The Associated Press

7 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • At least someone has some common sense. It should have never been in the bill to begin with, nor any other bill for that maters. Separation of church & state is one of the foundation stones of the US and without it the country would be on its way to becoming a theocracy, AKA religious dictatorship.

  • Visible over Trump’s head is Arveda King, a right wing idol who is the opposite of her esteemed uncle, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. And lurking over Trump’s left shoulder is Mike Pence, the fundamentalist activist who despises women’s rights of conscience, public schools, religious liberty, and church-state separation. — Edd Doerr

  • As a Baptist minister, I am still quite free to endorse from the pulpit any and all Democrat candidates that I choose, and still keep tax free status, and no one will ever take that away from me.

  • Bravo. This was actually never about religion in the first place. This was about letting religious organizations, and really, any non-profit, collect money it could funnel directly to candidates. That meant tax-free, and untraceable. So this was about a hope for more dark money in our political system. And some religious people were duped into thinking it had anything to do with “freedom.”

  • Technically, I believe you are in violation of the law. But the law is seldom enforced. I think you’re in violation of your vocation, but that’s me. I’m all for churches and charities advocating for the causes they care about. But as soon as you enter partisan politics in the pulpit, I think you’ve made a mistake. Shall we also let you print signs, tax free, for the politicians of your choice? That was always the intention of rolling back Johnson, allowing churches and any not for profits to funnel money to candidates, tax free and untraceable. Now think about the effect that would have on our democracy.

  • Repeal or no repeal is irrelevant. The Johnson Amendment isn’t enforced because everyone knows it will never survive a trip to the SCOTUS.

ADVERTISEMENTs