If you’re serious about the need for our government to reestablish some it’s religious roots. Then read this very carefully. The so-called ‘Johnson Amendment,’ pushed by Lyndon Johnson, (Democrat) in 1954, today threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.
Donald Trump addressed these actions as a threat to the exercising of free speech by the Christian church. He pledged to defend those rights if elected president of the United States and specifically called for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.
This legislation that currently defines our country’s national concept of “separation of church and state” was in fact the work of the powerful Sen. Johnson who wanted to squelch conservative religious groups that opposed him in his home state of Texas.
This legislation was in fact born for use as a partisan political weapon to defeat religious political opponents and is now what has become a federal law that impedes the religious groups of our country, from promoting those who would advance their “Religious Ideology.”
Theamendment initiated by LBJ, while still a senator and Democratic minority leader, was introduced as an amendment to Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code dealing with tax-exempt charitable organizations, including groups organized and operated exclusively for religious, purposes. It said, in effect, that if you want to be absolved from paying taxes, you could not be involved in partisan politics, in other words you lose your constitutional rights of free speech.
The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Johnson Amendment makes a mockery of that language.
There was no Internal Revenue Service when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were drafted. Christian leaders, pastors, ministers, priests and public servants were honored for their moral contributions to society. Their participation was seen as a service to the community, not as a crime against society.
Using the Johnson Amendment, the IRS often seeks to censor Christians that proclaim the right to life, and marriage between one man and one woman, are both part of the“laws of nature as well as God’s law,” and so should be recognized as part of the civil law. The IRS excludes any public display that identifies as being “religious.” and rules them out as unfit for public exposure while trying to silence their advocates when possible.
This amendment has for the most part muffled any ability to inject basic morality into any of our legislation. As a result we received little or no public moral input from our clergy on issues such as: which political party promotes abortion, gay marriage, the morale decay of our media, lack of moral guidance on issues such as governments role in the rotting away of our family values and the restriction of any public display having religious content.
In practice, the Johnson Amendment discards the Constitutional presumption of innocence. If the IRS accuses a church or religious organization of crossing the line, it can lose its tax exemption immediately and be subject to punitive fines. In essence when you are charged the IRS has already found you guilty and it’s up to you to prove yourself innocent. This exerts a chilling effect on churches who are not aligned with the political priorities of whoever is currently President.
The church must be free to speak from their pulpits and in the public square. The Johnson Amendment is a gag order backed by the guns and jails of the state. Churches that step out of line will have their savings confiscated and their leaders crippled by fines.
Donald J. Trump and only Trump has realized the damning effect this amendment is causing to our nations morality and the only candidate that mentioned the necessity of eliminating this carbuncle on the backside of our nation. None of the other candidates, Democrat or Republican have taken on this quest to abolish this vindictive legislation called the Johnson Amendment.
So, read and study the man like a book not just the cover, don’t let others tell you what to think, determine that for yourself, and if you do so you’ll find Donald Trump to be much deeper than most realize.
Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party