The new GOP tax reform bill would politicize churches

By Jack Jenkins

The newly unveiled Republican tax reform bill includes a provision that will likely make leaders of the Religious Right very happy—by amending a part of the tax law that keeps churches from engaging in explicit political advocacy.

Embedded within the bill’s more than 400 pages is a small provision that would change an aspect of the so-called “Johnson Amendment,” a provision of the tax codes that prohibits churches, faith communities, and other non-profits from outright endorsing political candidates.

Under the Johnson Amendment, it is illegal (albeit rarely enforced) for a faith leader to, say, endorse a candidate from the pulpit. Some conservative leaders—including paragons of the Religious Right and Trump’s own lawyer Jay Sekulow—have long argued this law infringes on their freedom of speech or religion.

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