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Resources


Looking To Learn More
About The Johnson Amendment?
We Have Several Resources
That You Can Use.

SCROLL DOWN

Resources


Looking To Learn More
About The Johnson Amendment?
We Have Several Resources
That You Can Use.

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Talking Points


The Johnson Amendment protects the integrity of houses or worship and other tax-exempt organizations

Talking Points


The Johnson Amendment protects the integrity of houses or worship and other tax-exempt organizations

The Johnson Amendment protects the integrity of tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose candidates. Americans do not want our charities and houses of worship to be torn apart by partisan campaign politics.


Charities and Houses of Worship are tax free because they work for the common good, not so they can Support political candidates.  

  • If we repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment, taxpayers would essentially be forced to subsidize the political campaign activities of churches and other non-profits. Changing the law would also incentivize donations to organizations to support political candidates when the whole purpose of the tax-exemption is to support work that serves the community. 

  • The repeal or weakening of current law would dismantle the non-profit structure as we know it and fundamentally change the character of tax-exempt organizations. 


Political parties and candidates seeking power shouldn’t Be Allowed use our churches and charities as political campaign tools.  

  • Current law ensures that sanctuaries remain sacred and houses of worship focus on fostering community and performing good works. This also applies to secular non-profit organizations, who without the pressure to shift their resources to candidates and campaigns, can focus on fulfilling their missions. 

  • No one wants political candidates and those seeking political power to be able to use houses of worship and other charities for their own personal political gain. This is especially true when these entities are receiving special tax-exempt status.


Changing current law to encourage churches to endorse and oppose political candidates will divide congregations.

  • Americans do not need or want more places to be divided from one another over political candidates running for office.

  • Changing the law could lead to divisions within houses of worship and among congregants, as they become split along party lines. It could also pit houses of worship against each other.

  • Changing the law could also divide charities along party lines. For example, a community could see two adversarial food pantries spring up—one that is run by and funded by Republicans and only serves those who will support Republican candidates, and the other that is run by and funded by Democrats and only serves those who will support Democratic candidates. 


Houses of worship and their leaders have robust free speech rights and can already speak out on political and social issues. 

  • Houses of worship can speak out on political or social issues. For instance, houses of worship can take positions on issues of concern, lobby on legislation and endorse or oppose non-partisan referendum; host candidate forums and distribute answers to candidate questionnaires; and encourage people to vote, including through voter registration drives, and driving people to the polls.  

  • Church leaders are absolutely free to support or endorse political candidates as private citizens or even run for office—just like any of us can. 


Americans don’t want churches in the business of endorsing or opposing political parties and candidates.

  • Changing the law is extremely unpopular. Two different polls conducted in March 2017 (one by Independent Sector and one by PRRI) found that more than 70% of voters want to keep the Johnson Amendment in place. Sixty-two percent of Republicans and fifty-six percent of white evangelicals Protestants also support current law.  Read more about the recent polls.


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Polls


The Vast Majority of Americans

Support the Johnson Amendment

Polls


The Vast Majority of Americans

Support the Johnson Amendment

72% of Americans support the Johnson Amendment, including 66% of Trump voters, 78% of Clinton voters, and 77% of independent voters. 


71% of Americans oppose allowing churches and places of worship to endorse political candidates while retaining their tax-exempt status.

62% of Republicans and 56% of white evangelical Christians also oppose allowing churches and places of worship to endorse political candidates while retaining their tax-exempt status.


"Nearly 90 percent of evangelical leaders do not think pastors should endorse politicians from the pulpit."


"Even among the religious groups that are most in favor of church endorsements of candidates – black Protestants and white evangelicals – just 45% of the former and 37% of  the latter say it’s OK for churches to endorse political candidates. And support is lower still among Catholics (28%), the religiously unaffiliated (26%) and white mainline Protestants (21%)."


"Eight in 10 (79 percent) say it is inappropriate for pastors to endorse a candidate in church. Three-quarters say churches should steer clear of endorsements."


"Pew Research Center surveys conducted over the past decade show a steady consensus that churches and other houses of worship should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during elections. Currently, about two-thirds of Americans take this view (66%), while 27% say churches should endorse one candidate over another."


"Two-thirds of the public (66%) say that churches and other houses of worship should not endorse one candidate over another, which is unchanged since 2004 (65%)."


"When asked to respond to the statement, 'I believe it is appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates for public office,' 85 percent disagree including 73 percent who disagree strongly."

52% agree "that churches who publicly endorse candidates for public office should lose their tax exemption."


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Letters


Letters


March 2017 Letter from 4,500 Non-Profit Organizations

"Nonpartisanship is a cornerstone principle that has strengthened the public’s trust of the charitable community. "                         

March 2017 Letter from 99 Religious & Denominational Organizations

"The charitable sector, particularly houses of worship, should not become another cog in a political machine or another loophole in campaign finance laws."   

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February 2017 Letter from 86 Non-Profit Organizations

"For more than 60 years, this rule . . . has helped maintain the integrity and autonomy of our religious and charitable sectors and preserve the boundary separating church and state."             


Faith Leaders Can Now Join This Letter:


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Editorials & Op-Eds


Editorials and Op-Eds in Support of Keeping the Johnson Amendment

Editorials & Op-Eds


Editorials and Op-Eds in Support of Keeping the Johnson Amendment