The new GOP tax reform bill would politicize churches

Nov 7, 2017

By Jack Jenkins

The newly unveiled Republican tax reform bill includes a provision that will likely make leaders of the Religious Right very happy—by amending a part of the tax law that keeps churches from engaging in explicit political advocacy.

Embedded within the bill’s more than 400 pages is a small provision that would change an aspect of the so-called “Johnson Amendment,” a provision of the tax codes that prohibits churches, faith communities, and other non-profits from outright endorsing political candidates.

Under the Johnson Amendment, it is illegal (albeit rarely enforced) for a faith leader to, say, endorse a candidate from the pulpit. Some conservative leaders—including paragons of the Religious Right and Trump’s own lawyer Jay Sekulow—have long argued this law infringes on their freedom of speech or religion.

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One comment on “The new GOP tax reform bill would politicize churches”

  • We know that churches will ally themselves with any power-base, no matter how disreputable, and that Christian-Right power-seekers, will join with churches and political parties, to further all their agendas!

    There is an example on this at present in Poland!

    Tens of thousands of people joined a nationalist march in Warsaw on Saturday, organised to coincide with Poland’s independence day.

    Marchers chanted religious slogans such as “God, honour, country” and some called out racist chants including “Pure Poland, white Poland”.

    An “anti-fascist” counter-protest attracted about 2,000 people.

    Police estimated that 60,000 people took part in the main march.

    It attracted far-right agitators from elsewhere in Europe, including Tommy Robinson from the UK and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

    Kamil Staszalek, 30, said he was there to “honour the memory of those who fought for Poland’s freedom”.

    “I’d say some people here do have extreme views, maybe even 30% of those marching, but 70% are simply walking peacefully, without shouting any fascist slogans,” he told the AFP news agency.

    Supporters of the country’s governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party took part in the annual march, which takes place alongside other events.

    Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak called the event a “beautiful sight”.

    The nationalist marchers carried Polish flags and threw red smoke bombs. Pawel, 21, from the southern city of Rzeszow told AFP it was “important because religion is important in our country and we don’t want Islamisation, of Europe or especially Poland”. Other events were also held in the city for Independence Day, which marks the country regaining independence 123 years after it was carved up by Tsarist Russia, Prussia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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