On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Treasury Department to not take any adverse action against any house of worship or religious organization that speaks out on “political issues of religious perspective.”
If you are a regular reader of our blog, you are aware that the Johnson Amendment prohibits a church or religious organization from speaking out about political issues or endorsing a candidate. Any religious organization that engages in political speech risks losing its tax exempt status.
Some feel that the Johnson Amendment illegally restricts free speech that is permitted by the United States Constitution. Others feel that repealing political activity restrictions on churches will allow wealthy individuals to make donations to their church and receive a charitable contribution deduction on their tax return. The church, now unfettered by political speech restrictions, can then give this money to fund political candidates which may lead to the abuse of campaign finance laws.
We feel that churches cannot have it both ways. If a church wishes to engage in political speech, it should lose its tax exempt status. What do you think?