Written by Don Byrd

The final tax bill that emerged from conference, reconciling the Senate and House versions, leaves the Johnson Amendment unchanged. That is good news for those of us who want to keep houses of worship free of partisan politics. This victory comes after a groundswell of grassroots opposition to changes passed in the U.S. House that would have exposed our congregations to political exploitation. Advocates including the BJC opposed the changes and made clear to lawmakers the devastating effect they would have on houses of worship and other nonprofits.

In a statement issued today following the news,BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler praised the removal of the House language.

“If this tax bill passes, one thing Americans won’t have to worry about is whether their house of worship or local charitable nonprofit will be turned into a PAC. This is a big win for churches, synagogues, mosques, all other 501(c)(3) nonprofits, and the people who rely on them as a vital part of our society. 

“A troubling change was stuck into a huge tax bill on the fast track in the hopes that those most affected wouldn’t notice and have time to advocate for their interests. Fortunately, as more Americans learned of the proposal and its likely impact, they raised their voices – calling and writing their representatives and senators, sharing concerns with their neighbors through local and social media, and joining thousands of faith leaders at Faith-Voices.org. Now all those committed to protecting the independence and nonpartisanship of our 501(c)(3) sector need to stay alert for other attempts to change the law.”

Read the whole thing.