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“In large part, the guidance restates much settled law, though with a decided tilt toward concerns of free exercise, giving short shrift to the government’s duty to avoid ‘no establishment’ concerns. … “
Announcing the winners of BJC’s 2017 essay contest.
More than 4,000 faith leaders from all 50 states are calling on Congress to keep the Johnson Amendment, the part of the tax code that protects houses of worship and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations from being pressured by politicians for endorsements.
Promoting religious freedom for all around the world is a mission that has garnered broad bipartisan support.
Gutting potential enforcement of the “Johnson Amendment” gives candidates and campaign donors a green light to press churches for their endorsements and possibly their tax-deductible offerings, too.
While claiming to stand up for churches, the Court ignores their distinct nature as centers of religious exercise.
“This order appears to be largely a symbolic act, voicing concern for religious liberty but offering nothing to advance it. Worse, it is further evidence that President Trump wants churches to be vehicles for political campaigns,” said Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee.
“…it is a fundamental principle of religious liberty in this country that the government does not fund religious exercise. Churches are by definition expressions of religion — organized for religious exercise. That’s why churches are, and should be, given special treatment. It is a necessary protection for religious liberty, not a mark of hostility or discrimination against religion.”
Religious groups to Congress: Do not politicize our pulpits by changing tax law
After reviewing Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record on religious liberty issues, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty issued a statement in advance of his confirmation hearings.