FFRF celebrates Johnson Amendment victory


The Freedom From Religion Foundation scored a major victory last night on the front lines of the latest federal battle between religion and politics. The Johnson Amendment, ensuring churches and other nonprofits don’t electioneer with tax-exempt funds, is safe.

FFRF has fought fiercely to keep religion and churches out of the political arena. At every step in the federal budget process, FFRF has urged members of Congress, with the vital help of its members, to protect the Johnson Amendment. The final budget appropriations bill, which passed late yesterday, is clean. It does not contain any provision to overturn or limit the Johnson Amendment.

The Johnson Amendment prohibits churches and other 501(c)(3) entities from endorsing or opposing political candidates. It ensures that nonprofits remain nonpartisan. The popular rule stands despite this Administration’s promise to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.” Not on FFRF’s watch.

FFRF has successfully sued the federal government to protect this important rule on two occasions. FFRF sued the IRS in 2012 for failing to enforce the Johnson Amendment, a lawsuit that resulted in an agreement with the IRS to fix the problem.

FFRF filed suit against the IRS and President Trump last year over an executive order that he claimed would allow churches to politick: “This financial threat against the faith community is over. . . . You’re now in a position where you can say what you want to say.” FFRF forced Justice Department lawyers to admit to the court, twice, that Trump’s order left the Johnson Amendment intact.

Of course, the fight does not end with this appropriations bill. The Religious Right will be back. But with the support of its members, FFRF will vigilantly defend the wall of separation.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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