Friday, February 03, 2017

Trump At National Prayer Breakfast Again Promises Johnson Amendment Repeal

President Donald Trump spoke yesterday at the National Prayer Breakfast. (Full text of remarks.)  In a wide-ranging speech, he reiterated his campaign promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment that restricts non-profits from participating in partisan election campaigns, saying in part:
It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty.”  Jefferson asked, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”
Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs.  That is why I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.  I will do that -- remember.
Not all religious groups favor repeal of the tax code ban on electioneering.  Responding to Trump's remarks, the Baptist Joint Committee issued a press release, saying in part:
Politicizing churches does them no favors. The promised repeal is an attack on the integrity of both our charitable organizations and campaign finance system.
Inviting churches to intervene in campaigns with tax-deductible offerings would fundamentally change our houses of worship. It would usher our partisan divisions into the pews and harm the church’s ability to provide refuge.