By David Saperstein and Amanda Tyler
David Saperstein, director emeritus of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is an ordained rabbi who served as U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom from 2015 to 2017. Amanda Tyler is the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
At the National Prayer Breakfast a little more than a year ago, President Trump vowed to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a federal law prohibiting houses of worship, charitable nonprofits and private foundations from endorsing, opposing or financially supporting political candidates and parties. Fortunately for religious congregations — and the entire charitable sector — he has not yet fulfilled his promise.
Trump’s failure to eliminate the Johnson Amendment is not for lack of will. Members of Congress pursued similar goals to the president, attempting to include language that would weaken the law as part of the tax reform bill, but that effort ultimately failed. And at one point, Trump described his goal of eliminating the prohibition on election activity as potentially his “greatest contribution to Christianity — and other religions.”
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