One Last Chance to Protect the Johnson Amendment
December 14, 2017
We have one last chance to STOP a repeal of the Johnson Amendment in tax reform legislation.
As you know, the Johnson Amendment is a law that bans churches and other nonprofit organizations, such as the Center for Inquiry, from endorsing candidates for office. Nonprofit organizations accept this tradeoff in return for exemption from tax obligations. If the Johnson Amendment is repealed, houses of religious worship will become tax-subsidized promotional vehicles for the religious right.
In recent weeks, would-be religious electioneers have been scheming to repeal the Johnson Amendment in the tax reform bill. The legislative process for tax reform is almost complete, but the House and the Senate have not yet reached agreement on which provisions will be in the final text. Congress has convened a “conference committee” to hash out a final version of the bill.
Conference committees are notoriously ad hoc affairs: typically, a tiny fraction of our elected representatives (“conferees”) sit in a smoke-filled room “horse trading” the remaining details of the bill.
We’re now hearing rumblings that conferees allied with the religious right are considering a last-minute change to attack the Johnson Amendment. The final version of this bill may be released on Friday, so this is our last chance to convey that any attack on the separation of church and state is unacceptable.
CFI urges you to ask your representatives to tell tax reform conferees that the Johnson Amendment is nonnegotiable. To ensure that your voice is heard, we encourage you to call their offices in Washington, D.C. right now. All your need to do is call (202) 224-3121 with your zip code to be connected to your elected officials. If you are unable to call, please use our action alert system to send your representatives a written message.