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|Our Freedom Statement on Johnson Amendment Repeal
Release Date: February 28, 2017
On Thursday, February 2, 2017, at the National Prayer Breakfast, newly elected President Donald J. Trump stated that he would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment. This amendment, authored by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, was an amendment to H.R. 8300 which was a bill in the 83rd Congress. It became part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 without discussion or debate. During the Ronald Reagan administration, it was included in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
The Johnson Amendment affects all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in that it prohibits those organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Such organizations include churches, universities, and charitable foundations. Immediately after the President’s statement, legislators in the House of Representatives Jody Hice (R) and Steve Scalise (R) put forth bills which would allow these organizations to remain tax-exempt and to express political views under two provisions: first, the political views expressed would have to be made during regular activities and second, associated spending would have to be minimal.
Our Freedom: A Pagan Civil Rights Coalition consists of leaders and liaisons of national Pagan organizations and publications in America. As a Constitutionally protected group of minority religions, we are particularly concerned with issues of church and state.
The leaders herein undersigned oppose any effort to rescind, reverse, and/or repeal the Johnson Amendment. Since 1954 it has been a bulwark in the tax code where it has reinforced both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Should this amendment be, as expressed by President Trump, “totally destroyed,” it is the belief of Our Freedom that this nation will begin traversing a path toward the establishment of Christianity as the official and preferred religion of the state. This would be in express contravention to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and over two centuries of established Constitutional law
Therefore, we, the undersigned, express and affirm our support for the Johnson Amendment.
Aisling ni Bhrigide
Rev. Angie Buchanan
Phyllis Curott, Esq.
Dianne C. Duggan
Dana D. Eilers
Holli S. Emore
Ellen Evert Hopman
H.E. Rev. Patrick McCollum
M. Macha NightMare (Aline O’Brien)
Anne Newkirk Niven
Rev. David L. Oringderff, PhD