President Donald Trump repeated a campaign pledge at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches and other non-profit organizations from voicing support for or opposing political candidates.
“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,” Trump stated.
From Western Journalism
He continued, “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.”
The measure was introduced by then Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson in 1954, when he was up for re-election and a conservative non-profit group had come out in support of his primary opponent.
Trump accurately stated at the Republican National Convention in July that the penalty for violating the Johnson Amendment for churches and other non-profits is the loss of their tax-exempt status.
Trump argued that evangelical and other religious communities “have much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.”
“I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans,” he added.
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Legislation was introduced in both the House and the Senate this week to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the Hill reported.
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