Republican Platform Calls for Repeal of Ban on Political Organizing by Churches

Jul 26, 2016

By Elizabeth Dias

Early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump called Jerry Falwell Jr. and woke him up with news the Liberty University president has long been waiting to hear. The new Republican platform, the GOP nominee told Falwell, calls for the repeal of a half-century-old tax law prohibiting churches and tax-exempt institutions from political organizing.

“He was so excited,” Falwell says. “After 30 years of the so-called conservative leaders who have been elected by evangelicals, none of them thought to advocate for the repeal of the Johnson amendment, giving evangelical leaders political free speech. … He thinks it is going to be a revolution in the Christian world.”

The “Johnson Amendment,” as the 1954 law is often called, is a U.S. tax code rule preventing tax-exempt organizations, such as churches and educational institutions, from endorsing political candidates. At the time, then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson was running for re-election, and he and other members of Congress pushed the amendment to stop support for their political opponents’ campaigns, George Washington University law professor Robert Tuttle has explained. Many have also argued the amendment served to stop black churches from organizing to support the civil rights movement.

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26 comments on “Republican Platform Calls for Repeal of Ban on Political Organizing by Churches

  • 2
    fadeordraw says:

    Very interesting. Actually, I find it hard to believe that this act in the USA is enforced. Don’t see much of a divide twitch state and church there. I haven’t heard much from the church monitoring police blowing whistle.

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  • @OP – The new Republican platform, the GOP nominee told Falwell, calls for the repeal of a half-century-old tax law prohibiting churches and tax-exempt institutions from political organizing.

    Ah well! He should now be delighted that a Mormon who who like Trump, has never held political office, is now standing as a Republican independent to challenge Trump for the presidency!

    Former CIA agent Evan McMullin has announced an independent presidential bid as an alternative to Republican nominee Donald Trump.
    The 40-year-old Mormon has never held elected office.

    Mr McMullin is an outspoken critic of Mr Trump on social media, calling the businessman an “authoritarian”.

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  • alf1200 #4
    Aug 9, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Alan, at least McMullin isn’t nuts. And has some government experience.

    I think Trump is just completing the process of proving that HE is nuts!
    Republican Donald Trump has described US President Barack Obama as the “founder” of the Islamic State group.

    “They honour President Obama,” he told a rally in Florida on Wednesday. “He is the founder of Isis [Islamic State].

    Mr Trump also attacked his Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton, calling her a “co-founder”.

    She responded by accusing him of “trash-talking” the US and echoing the talking points of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Mr Trump stood by his remarks on Thursday, using a sports phrase to say Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were the Islamic State’s “most valuable players”.

    The Republican presidential nominee has endured 10 days of negative headlines after a string of controversial comments.

    American foreign policy has certainly provided conditions where Islamic State can flourish, but that goes way back before the Obama administration!

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  • Laurie,

    You see? The Koch platform in 1980 which I posted on the other thread and that you correctly described as “dystopian” is still the Republican platform. It’s all coming out now. The Koch brothers, with the private insurance companies and oil and gas companies and the NRA contributing obscene amounts (which is bribery), are still calling the shots. (By the way, it is hot and humid as hell in Manhattan! How is it where you are? I think it’s global warming.)

    Sanders was right. The system is corrupt. It really is, and we will fall if it continues.

    I am not altogether opposed to implants now. My physician told me he has a patient who is doing very well with his new chip.

    I hope you’re well.

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  • Hi Dan

    I saw that Koch platform when you posted it before. I really think this stuff should be put on billboards in every state. I don’t think the general public is aware of these goals from the dark ages that are part of their party platform. If they consider themselves to be Republicans then don’t you think they should “own” these repugnant statements of intent? Let’s hold their feet to the fire says I !!

    The weather here in Boston is oppressive. Too damn hot and the humidity is horrible. Like breathing soup.

    I saw your comment to Phil about the implants. We all do agree that caution is called for and a conservative approach balanced with the expected benefits. This technology has the potential to save lives and lessen the stress levels of the families of the patients too. Let’s see where it takes us.

    I want summer to end. I hate heat. Fall is my favorite season. I want to move to northern Scotland for every summer after this one. Waaaaaay north. I will live on fish and lichen.

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  • Dan

    They need to be exposed!


    I hope our young people are seeing some of this exposure on their media sources. I really miss Colbert and Stewart with their satire shows. Have they been effectively replaced? It was a pleasure to watch Colbert rake these a-holes over the coals. I miss his show.

    Sometimes I worry that no one will come out to protest until we are living in an Orwellian dystopia. People just don’t know what they have until they lose it.

    we will make progress with setbacks along the way.

    I think this is what we have been doing for a gazillion years. Your statement is Pinkeresque even if you do continue to refuse to read his sublime book Better Angels of our Nature 🙂 (good natured dig) Resistance is futile-you will be assimilated!!!

    Lois Theroux’ BBC documentaries

    Someone here posted one of these but I was in a rush and couldn’t watch it. I’ll check them out soon, especially since there’s nothing good on tv whatsoever!

    what people on this site look like.

    Imagine us to be a bunch of toothless decrepit ogres drooling on our keyboards. That’ll cure you of your curiosity. It’s for your own good. Life serves up enough disappointment on a regular basis. Don’t be going out there waving your arms around inviting more. I look like a supermodel of course.

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  • Laurie,

    Someone here posted one of these [Theroux documentaries].

    That was me. Updated Map thread, #39.

    Watch the ones on the “fag hating” fanatically religious Phelps family. (“The most hated family in America”). There are two of them. See them in order. The second is called “A family in crisis.” The American Nazi one is hard to take.

    You’ll love Louie Theroux. He gives me hope, and, as I said, exposes these fringe groups. Watch how calm he is, almost comically so, and yet he has a lot of courage, as you’ll see, and is very humane – and an atheist.

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  • It looks like Trump nuttery is even too much for the republicans!
    More than 70 Republicans have signed a letter to the party’s National Committee head urging him to stop helping Donald Trump’s campaign.

    They said Mr Trump’s “divisiveness” and “incompetence” risked drowning the party in November’s election.

    The letter said that the party should instead focus on protecting vulnerable candidates in elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    Former members of Congress are among the signatories of the letter.

    “We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide,” said a draft of the letter obtained by Politico.

    “Only the immediate shift of all available RNC (Republican National Committee) resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP (Republican Party) from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck.”

    The letter added: “This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day.”

    Reacting to the move, Mr Trump said he was not concerned that the party could cut him off.

    “All I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party,” the billionaire said.

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  • The Republican splits are opening up, but Trump shows no sign of restraining his incompetence or egotism!
    The chairman of the Republican Party famously said that Donald Trump’s tumultuous candidacy had not yet pushed him to pour whiskey into his morning cereal.

    But after the past few weeks, Reince Priebus’ resolve is being tested again.

    Many Republicans have determined the Trump campaign has finally reached the point of no return and are running for the exits.
    So what are their options?

    The best way for the Republican Party to replace Mr Trump on the ballot at this point is for the New York billionaire to voluntarily leave the race, says Charles Spies, a former top lawyer at the RNC.

    A vacancy would invoke “Rule Nine” of the Rules of the Republican Party. The board of the RNC – with 160 members representing all states and territories – would select a replacement.

    Each state and territory would have the same amount of voting power that it had at the convention. Mike Pence, the vice-presidential nominee, would not get an automatic promotion because the board can choose anyone to fill the vacancy, Mr Spies says.

    Unfortunately for the Republican Party, Mr Trump isn’t likely to ride off into the sunset quietly. So even though his poll numbers are circling the drain, he is still drawing huge crowds to his rallies, raising millions of dollars and attracting hundreds of journalists to hang on his every word.

    “If you’re in an echo chamber and everyone is telling you what you want to hear, why would think you should drop out?” Mr Spies says.

    Fear and anger in Trump-land

    Pros: It’s the cleanest way for the Republican Party to divorce itself from Mr Trump. If he goes of his own accord, his supporters, who are now a powerful Republican voting bloc, are less likely to spurn the party. And a non-Trump Republican presidential candidate could help the party hold on to their majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    Cons: Any candidate tapped to replace Mr Trump would face huge logistical challenges. National presidential campaigns usually take two years – not two months – to pull off. And the pool of candidates will be limited. Promising candidates – such as House Speaker Paul Ryan or Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton – are not likely to sign on to such an uphill task.

    Without Mr Trump leaving the race, a Republican replacement isn’t possible under the rules. But many Republicans are already embracing a third-party option. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is a former Republican and served as the governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent and Republican Congressional staff member, is also running as an independent, but he entered the race too late to compete in every state.

    Some conservatives are holding out hope that an obscure Republican National Committee (RNC) manoeuvre could rid them of Mr Trump as the nominee. The theory is the RNC could declare Mr Trump “not of sound mind” and remove him under the aforementioned Rule Nine, which caters for a candidate being incapacitated by an ailment like a stroke.

    “Better luck next time” isn’t the most comforting election strategy, but some disaffected Republicans think their best option is to denounce him and wait. More and more are signing letters and writing columns denouncing Mr Trump. Ohio Governor John Kasich is keeping his distance literally – he declined show up at Mr Trump’s convention.

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  • We are steeped in corruption, a corporate state.

    “This is about giant corporations who figured out that by spending, hey, a few tens of millions of dollars, if they can influence outcomes here in Washington, they can make billions of dollars,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, a frequent critic of undisclosed Wall Street donations to think tanks.

    Washington has seen a proliferation of think tanks, particularly small institutions with narrow interests tied to specific industries. At the same time, the brand names of the field have experienced explosive growth. Brookings’s annual budget has doubled in the last decade, to $100 million. The American Enterprise Institute is spending at least $80 million on a new headquarters in Washington, not far from where the Center for Strategic and International Studies built a $100 million office tower.

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  • And a military state. (CSIS is the Center for Strategic and International Studies.) What a corrupt government.

    One of the two think tanks the Times’ Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams raked over the coals was the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which published a report advocating the expansion of drone sales while being funded by drone makers, namely General Atomics (emphasis added):

    As a think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies did not file a lobbying report, but the goals of the effort were clear.

    As the Times also notes, CSIS is funded largely by Western and Gulf monarchy governments, arms dealers and oil companies, such as Raytheon, Boeing, Shell, the United Arab Emirates, US Department of Defense, UK Home Office, General Dynamics, Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, Chevron and others.

    Anyone with a seven-year-old’s understanding of causality can conclude that CSIS would, in the aggregate, promote the expansion of the military and surveillance state, since that’s who pays their bills; what the Times did was reveal a specific, rather direct example, using heretofore secret documents.

    New York Times readers didn’t need a smoking gun in any event, since CSIS’s agenda can be seen with simple inference. Since it was the Times that broached the topic, let’s use what CSIS fellows have written or said in the Times over the past year, and see if they ever called for the defunding or de-escalation of the military state:

    CSIS op-ed (12/3/15) hyping the threat of ISIS and by implication calling for more surveillance of Americans

    CSIS op-ed (2/18/16) calling for an “international precedent” for an encryption backdoor

    CSIS op-ed (2/23/16) calling for an encryption backdoor

    CSIS senior fellow (5/17/16) helping the US military with its pro-LGBT (a/k/a “woke imperialism”) rebranding efforts

    CSIS fellow (5/27/16) saying that Africa was no longer seen by the US through a “peacekeeping lens” but was now a battlefield with enemies that could potentially threaten the US

    CSIS “military budget expert” (6/10/16) criticizing Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter for not moving fast enough on its new cybersecurity recruitment initiative

    CSIS op-ed (7/5/16) calling for more biometric security and dismissing privacy concerns as “irrational” “nervous dystopian projections”

    CSIS fellow (7/8/16) saying the White House hasn’t “fully acknowledged” the shift in Europe and how it could damage NATO

    CSIS senior fellow (7/9/16) insisting nuclear weapons remain in Europe due to increased threats from Russia

    CSIS fellow (8/5/16) insisting Boko Haram is “increasingly unstable”

    —Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst for FAIR (Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting)

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  • Phil,

    The more I watch the news and listen to Trump’s advisers and supporters, the more convinced I am that Haidt is on to something, although I haven’t yet read him. Loyalty. That’s what it is! Monstrous loyalty. It may be that this feeling harkens back to the days of early man, and is imbedded in the brain somehow. It may be that this feeling, common among Republicans, has become, for many people, intensified and perverted, and no longer has any connection to reason. Maybe it is primary in some way, and does constitute a “foundation” of some kind.

    Loyalty. That is one of the best characterization of these mad Republicans that I can think of. They are exhibiting excessive loyalty. (Watching that scumbag Jeff Sessions now. He is loyal to the Republican party and is supporting Trump.)

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  • Thanks for this observation, Dan.

    There are other psychologists with pretty much the same underlying analysis of political/moral traits as Haidt.

    I think its worth noticing these things, not just because it humanises “evil” folk, but because it makes the problems they pose more tractable.

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  • Laurie,

    I’ve been watching MSNBC and CNN all day. Trump,Trump, Trump. Nothing but Trump. Awful. Toxic. All this publicity and discussion. It makes him seem like a legitimate candidate, which he isn’t.

    [I wish I had your email (and Phil’s), so we could chat once in a while. I got into some personal stuff a week ago and it was deleted, as it should have been; but it was a nice and uncharacteristically upbeat comment.]

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  • Dan,
    Loyalty. Hmm…. Another worthless human trait. Somewhat like patriotism taken too far which unchecked and unquestioned becomes quite dangerous.
    Comment #13 The uneducated are the most swayed by the “think tanks”. They don’t realize the reactions they think are theirs are already predicted and planned by those much smarter then themselves. Sound familiar?

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  • alf1200,

    Loyalty is good. But these people – and I know a few of them – seem like they have been abducted and had their brains tampered with by aliens from the outer reaches of space.

    I lost another pill, you fiend! You frighten me!

    (Kidding… I think.)

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  • Dan, I just watched Regression. It a story about a sleepy town with a Satanic following. Its really about the religious gone amok.
    This happened in Eastern Washington in the nineties. An over zealous detective trying to make something out of superstition.
    (round pills roll)………try a marble and see where it goes.

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  • alf1200 #18
    Aug 22, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Loyalty. Hmm…. Another worthless human trait. Somewhat like patriotism taken too far which unchecked and unquestioned becomes quite dangerous.

    Very much so!
    Back in the UK, Corbyn supporters produce a fairly persistent chorus of “these disloyal MPs” and others, who have no “loyalty” to their elected hopeless leader, or the mass or the views of the gullible newly joined members who voted for him and his fantasy claims.
    Apparently “loyalty and respect for the expert advice of 172 MPs from their own party and their London elected mayor, don’t count with the loony left!
    The ignorant mob have spoken, and they really want to wear the emperor’s new clothes, so will disparage anyone who informs them that throwing away the ones they have, is a really bad move!

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  • What people need to notice is when loyalty rears its head. Loyalty, the personal manifestation of the herding instinct, happens in the presence of perceived threat. Understand what the perceived threats are and you have a possible way of dealing with such thoughtless behaviours…

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  • I think tribal loyalty has a quite different source and dynamic to brand loyalty. It co-opts as-if-kin mechanisms, often centres around alpha male/female/parent figures and also the wish to appear most worthy of protection.

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