Written by Don Byrd

Tax overhaul legislation has passed both the U.S. House and Senate, but the fate of the important Johnson Amendment protections for houses of worship remains up in the air. Thanks to the voices of grassroots activists, the Senate version of the bill did not include language passed by the House that would invite electoral campaigns and donors to exploit and divide our congregations for political purpose.

Now it is essential to speak clearly to Congress that they should not include the House’s provision in the final bill negotiated in conference committee between the two chambers.

The Baptist Joint Committee has provided a helpful guide to assist you in contacting your Senator and Representative to ensure that the Johnson Amendment protections remain in place:

Action step: Call your representative and senators today (Capitol switchboard: 202-225-3121) and deliver this important message:
“I’m a constituent, and I’m calling in opposition to a very harmful provision, Section 5201, in the House’s tax bill that would weaken the Johnson Amendment and politicize houses of worship, charitable nonprofits, and foundations against our wishes. This harmful provision is now in a conference committee. It is imperative that [NAME OF Senator/Representative] reach out to every member of the conference committee and tell them the Johnson Amendment language in the House bill must be stripped from the final bill. Thank you.”
Social media action: Use the Twitter handles of your representatives and senators in a tweet to tell them to protect the #JohnsonAmendment by removing House Section 5201 from the final bill. 

If we all work together, Congress will get the message that we do not need and do not want to politicize our churches. Spread the word and call today!

For more on this issue, see the Baptist Joint Committee’s Community Not Candidates resource page.