Sam Well Preacher

By Duke Chapel (Duke ChapelPreviously published: Duke Chapel) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

President Trump has signed the executive order to stymie the law

About 4,000 faith leaders from different religions have given their signatures to a letter which urges Congress to keep the Johnson Amendment. This legislation prohibits politics from the pulpit or equivalent commanding stand. President Donald J. Trump has pledged to destroy this law. Trump, during May's National Day of Prayer held in Rose Garden, signed the executive order which forbids the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enforce this amendment.

The letter states that the signatories are leaders in their respective religious communities and extremely opposed to any kind of action which repeals or weakens the present law that offers protection to houses of worship so that they do not become a part of partisan politics. They point out that changing the Johnson Amendment will threaten the independence and also the integrity of houses of worship. The law forbids houses of worship or any other similar tax-exempt organization to oppose or endorse any political candidate.

This letter does much more than opposing Trump's rhetoric. A provision was added to a certain House appropriations bill which will make it almost impossible for the IRS to enforce the Johnson Amendment.

It is of vital importance that leaders of different faiths speak up regarding this matter. This is not simply that the repeal of this particular law will undermine their respective religious institutions, it is also as President Trump claims to act on their behalf when he speaks concerning the repeal of this amendment. Other than this letter, an earlier letter was also previously sent signed by a total of 99 denominational and religious groups, to prove that Trump's support to repeal the Johnson Amendment is the wrong step.

A broad spectrum of clergy along with lay members, from Methodists and Muslims to individual groups holding metaphysical beliefs, were lead by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Other sponsoring groups of that letter include Catholic, Unitarian Universalist and Jewish organizations. Signers came from all over the United States, from Alabama state to Wyoming. 

Other than the faith leaders, about 4,500 non-profit organizations have submitted to Congress their own letter to support the Johnson Amendment. The letter expressed concerns that opening non-profit organizations to endorsing particular political entities will lead to erosion of public trust on these organizations. These will also undermine any action to do any good work in their respective communities. 

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