Christian Covarrubias Duarte: Trump and Johnson Amendment

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On February 2, 2017 President Donald Trump attended the National Prayer Breakfast, where he gave a speech discussing religious freedom. Trump made the claim in his speech that, “freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God”. President Trump continued by claiming that he would repeal and destroy the Johnson Amendment. According to an article titled, Donald Trump Declares a Vision of Religious Nationalism, published online by theatlantic.com, claims that the Johnson Amendment is, “a provision of the tax code that prohibits religious leaders and institutions endorsing or opposing political candidates” (Online). If Trump is able to repeal this Amendment, it would mean that Churches would be able to endorse politicians or denounce them.

The problem in this situation is that if Churches are able to become part of the political process, they will likely endorse political candidates who will be in favor of the church. Church leaders will essentially be able to speak about issues that are political without fear of losing their tax exempt status. Usnews.com posted an opinion piece titled Is repealing the Johnson Amendment a good Idea?, in which supporters claimed that, “the law creates an important distinction between political and religious or charitable groups. They stress that organizations have the option to relinquish their tax-exempt status in order to participate in campaigning”. Many would argue that the repeal of the Johnson Amendment would be a violation of the separation of Church and State because Churches should not be involved in the political process. In their view if the church wants to participate in the political process, their tax exempt status should be revoked.

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