The law prohibiting houses of worship, like all tax-exempt organizations, from endorsing or opposing candidates had been relatively noncontroversial for decades. Despite the fact that the law remains popular with the American people today, a small but vocal opposition to the provision has emerged and has been advocating for the repeal of the law. President Donald Trump has unfortunately embraced these calls for repeal.
Trump's Promise To Repeal And "Destroy" Current law
The Johnson Amendment made big news recently because, as a candidate, Donald Trump pledged to repeal the provision. He even amended the Republican Party’s official platform to explicitly include a call to repeal the law.
Now president, Trump continues to repeat his promise that he will repeal the Johnson Amendment. At the 2016 National Prayer Breakfast, he pledged to "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment."
Legislation To Repeal or Weaken Current law
Legislators in Congress have been introducing legislation that would repeal or weaken current law. This Congress is no exception. Read about the bills we are opposing. In addition, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Ways and Mean Committee (the committee that oversees tax issues), has stated that in "our Republican tax reform, we're going to repeal the damaging effects of the Johnson Amendment once and for all."
Pulpit Freedom Sunday
A large Religious Right group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has been prodding pastors to openly violate the law by endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. Every election year, ADF hosts a mis-named event called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” during which pastors are urged to endorse or oppose candidates during sermons.