U.S. elections would dramatically change if these organizations would get to exercise First Amendment rights.
Changing this law would equalize the way the First Amendment is exercised.
The law is the Johnson Amendment, which empowers the IRS to remove the tax-exempt status of churches that openly advocate for political candidates. And we all know from experience that the IRS enforces all its regulations with perfect impartiality.
Right. Sure they do.
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The Johnson Amendment means that churches are almost entirely free to advocate for Democrats but conservative churches are under constant threat. And Congress might soon change that.
If church leaders are able to openly advocate for political candidates, it could have a substantial impact on the future of U.S. elections. Although many pastors already discuss politics in their churches, many are too concerned about their church losing its tax-exempt status to promote political causes.
“Some churches, including my own, have been very concerned about appearing political in any way shape or form,” Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) told the Associated Press.
Tiberi also said the law has not been enforced evenly.
“Churches I went to that were primarily in Democrat areas, that I would go to because I had a Democrat district, the local candidates on the Sunday mornings before the election would be introduced, would speak from the pulpit about the campaign and why the congregation should vote for them,” Tiberi said.
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