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'Tax Reform' Bill Mixes Politics and Pulpits

November 2, 2017

Few elements in human relationships are more volatile than the mixture of religion and politics, so it’s more than a bit unsettling today to see the Trump administration and its allies in Congress stirring them into another combustible subject: taxes.

Thumbnail for the Money in Politics issue bucket

Special Interest Tax Giveaway Also Thrusts the Pulpit into Politics

November 2, 2017

Buried in the final pages of the tax bill’s handouts to deep-pocketed special interests is a troubling provision that would allow houses of worship to actively engage in partisan politicking. For more than a half century the Johnson Amendment has prohibited 501(c)(3)s, including religious organizations, from participating in political campaigns. If this bright line is removed the abuses will inevitably follow and the loopholes will be expanded. Overwhelmingly members of the clergy support the Johnson Amendment prohibition on political activity but there will inevitably be bad actors and money will change hands for endorsements and more. The mixing of partisan politics, religion and money would not end well and has no business in this legislation.

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