Tuesday, February 14, 2017

USA: Trump Vows To ‘Destroy’ The Law That Bans Churches From Endorsing Candidates


President Donald Trump has pledged to repeal a 50-year-old tax law that prohibits churches and other tax-exempt organizations from participating in political campaigns. If successful, the repeal could deal a major blow to the separation of church and state.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Huffington Post
By Antonia Blumberg | February 2, 2017

The president wants to help churches become the new super PACs.

President Donald Trump has pledged to repeal a 50-year-old tax law that prohibits churches and other tax-exempt organizations from participating in political campaigns. If successful, the repeal could deal a major blow to the separation of church and state.

In an address to politicians and religious leaders gathered for the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Trump declared: “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code named for Lyndon B. Johnson, who introduced it in Congress while he was still a senator. Congress passed the amendment in 1954, banning 501(c)(3) organizations ― which includes churches and charities ― from engaging in political campaign activity. Such activity includes publicly endorsing and opposing candidates, contributing to campaign funds and distributing materials in favor or opposition of any candidate.

The Internal Revenue Service upholds the prohibition accordingly, investigating churches and faith leaders who use their tax-exempt platforms to engage in political organizing of this nature.

The amendment aims to preserve an already precarious church-state divide by limiting religious organizations’ ability to sway elections. But for Trump, repealing the amendment appears to be an issue of religious freedom. At Thursday’s event, the president claimed the law undermines Americans’ “right to worship according to our own beliefs,” thus conflating political campaigning and religious worship.

Trump could propose changes to the current tax code, but only Congress has the power to officially repeal the amendment. But the president could effectively nullify the law by directing the IRS not to enforce it, tax law professor David Herzig told The Washington Post. The GOP currently holds a majority in Congress.

President Donald Trump has pledged to repeal a 50-year-old tax law that prohibits churches and other tax-exempt organizations from participating in political campaigns. If successful, the repeal could deal a major blow to the separation of church and state.

In an address to politicians and religious leaders gathered for the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Trump declared: “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code named for Lyndon B. Johnson, who introduced it in Congress while he was still a senator. Congress passed the amendment in 1954, banning 501(c)(3) organizations ― which includes churches and charities ― from engaging in political campaign activity. Such activity includes publicly endorsing and opposing candidates, contributing to campaign funds and distributing materials in favor or opposition of any candidate.

The Internal Revenue Service upholds the prohibition accordingly, investigating churches and faith leaders who use their tax-exempt platforms to engage in political organizing of this nature.

The amendment aims to preserve an already precarious church-state divide by limiting religious organizations’ ability to sway elections. But for Trump, repealing the amendment appears to be an issue of religious freedom. At Thursday’s event, the president claimed the law undermines Americans’ “right to worship according to our own beliefs,” thus conflating political campaigning and religious worship.

Trump could propose changes to the current tax code, but only Congress has the power to officially repeal the amendment. But the president could effectively nullify the law by directing the IRS not to enforce it, tax law professor David Herzig told The Washington Post. The GOP currently holds a majority in Congress.

[more ...]


___________________________
Antonia Blumberg is Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

Read original post here: USA: Trump Vows To ‘Destroy’ The Law That Bans Churches From Endorsing Candidates


This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Times of Ahmad. Times of Ahmad is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments. Any comments irrelevant to the post's subject matter, containing abuses, and/or vulgar language will not be approved.

Top read stories during last 7 days

Disclaimer!

THE TIMES OF AHMAD is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites. Times of Ahmad is an independently run and privately managed news / contents archival website; and does not claim to speak for or represent the official views of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Times of Ahmad assumes full responsibility for the contents of its web pages. The views expressed by the authors and sources of the news archives do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Times of Ahmad. All rights associated with any contents archived / stored on this website remain the property of the original owners.