You Should Care About The Johnson Amendment On Religious Funding

Most Recent Debate Over The Johnson Amendment Shows How Important It Is And How Little People Know About It

Religious liberty advocates heaved a sigh of relief after the omnibus spending bill omitted any language which could weaken the colloquially named “Johnson Amendment”. The latter protects all non-profits functioning in the United States from embroiling in politics. The list includes any houses of worship. The Baptist Joint Committee was one of the many religious organizations which preferred the Johnson Amendment to be kept in place.

Amanda Tyler, the Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee, published a statement articulating the views of the BJC. She said those who are dependent on community and worship non-profits may finally feel relief as all concerted tries to weaken the important law which protects 501(c)(3) sector from any partisan campaigning failed once again. Although a few hoped a bad policy could be made into a successful legislation, the advocates for preserving the non-partisan nature of nonprofits sharply countered them. The latter won.

A similar statement was also issued by Tim Delaney, the Chief Executive Officer and President of National Council of Nonprofits. He, however, warned it would be a folly to relax after this hard-fought victory. The CEO pointed out that a number of well-known politicians and lobbyists with deep pockets tried to destroy the Johnson Amendment. This was tried via five separate bills and an executive order.

There is nothing to think they will not keep on trying. There is a strong possibility that these moneyed, well-connected people would hijack any relevant charitable goodwill for their own political ambitions. The strategy is to reward the people who support them with relevant charitable tax deductions which will be applied for partisan donations. In case such a situation comes to pass, he assured the audience that charitable nonprofits, foundations, and houses of worship will again fight to defend this longstanding and vital American law.

It is important that the advocates for preserving the Johnson Amendment keep up their struggle. President Donald J. Trump and a number of other Republicans have made repealing or at least weakening of Johnson Amendment an important priority. This has been the policy of the Trump administration despite the broad public opposition to this idea of injecting political money and partisanship into congregations. Advocates like National Council of Nonprofits and the BJC were vocal about keeping the Johnson Amendment in its present, strong state. They signed petitions and made innumerable phone calls to keep it.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter