During the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, minority-President Donald Trump vowed to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954, prohibits all nonprofits, including churches, from endorsing political candidates.
By destroying such a law, Trump would open the flood-gates for churches to keep their tax-free status while politicking from the pulpit.
This would allow such churches to have their cake and eat it too.
“Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump pledged to ‘destroy’ a pillar of American democracy which has preserved the integrity of our political system for more than 60 years,” said Larry Decker, executive director of The Secular Coalition for American.
“Contrary to the president’s remarks, the Johnson Amendment does not stifle the free expression of America’s churches but helps hold them accountable to both the American taxpayer and their own congregations. Religious nonprofits already enjoy the hyper-privileged status of being exempt from both taxes and financial disclosure. The repeal of the Johnson Amendment would unleash a new wave of dark money into the political system, effectively transforming houses of worship into the equivalent of religious Super PACS. Americans of every faith and none must rally to defend this crucial piece of the wall of separation between church and state.”
This is not the first time Trump has promised to overturn the amendment.
In September, at the Voter Values Summit, Trump made the same pledge to overturn the amendment and also vowed to make taxpayer money available to religious schools.
At the time, Decker stated that “Donald Trump’s pledge to repeal the Johnson Amendment stands as one of the greatest threats to the separation of church and state.”
That statement has never been truer.
Now as president, Trump is continuing to push the threat.
With his preferred method of governing by Executive Order, it is not hard to imagine such sweeping laws going into effect without congress and even without legal council.