The GOP's New Tax Bill Holds a Big Change for Churches

Image by Adrian V. Floyd via Flickr Creative Commons

With the rollout of the New GOP tax reform bill today, along with it comes the hidden nuggets of disappointment.

In particular is an issue that I’ve talked about before, and I’m no less convinced that it’s a good idea today than I have been.


That’s because it’s not a good idea. It’s a horrible idea.

Near the end of the bill is a rollback of the Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches from endorsing political candidates.

According to Trump, stumping for men and a fleshly world system on Sundays is an act of worship.

President Trump vowed to repeal the amendment during the campaign, saying it would “give our churches their voice back.”

Shortly after taking office, Trump said he would “totally destroy” the amendment, which allows the IRS to revoke a church’s tax exempt status if it’s deemed to be participating in a political campaign.

Many on the religious right are all for it, wrongly considering it a violation of their First Amendment rights.

The facts are, there are no restrictions on religious speech, within the walls of the church. The First Amendment assures that, and nothing has taken that away from pastors, ministers, or priests.

I also don’t believe the Johnson Amendment should have ever been necessary. It has turned into the rope used by both sides of the political aisle to play tug-of-war with the witness of the American church.

Back in August, 4,000 religious leaders wrote a letter opposing efforts by the administration to end the Johnson Amendment.


They wrote, saying of the measure, that it:

“would harm houses of worship, which are not identified or divided by partisan lines.”

And if politicians, who have shown no conscience, when it comes to pandering to Christians for votes, are allowed to further pollute the pulpits, with nothing holding them back, what happens to the witness of the church? How deep does the divide run, when the church is no longer a refuge from the world and its devices?

Christians understand that we are simply passing through this world. There has never been a perfect, manmade system. We work for an eternal reward, and a system that has never failed, nor will it.

Christians understand that, but the American church has lost its way, and made it possible for the world to invade what is supposed to be a sacred place, until the dividing lines between politics and faith are irreparably blurred.



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