Don’t Let the Religious Right Buy Candidates!

October 30, 2017

Last June, we alerted you that President Trump had pledged to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, the federal law that prohibits non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates for public office. Now, some members of the House of Representatives may use “tax reform” legislation to fulfill Trump’s pledge.

Let’s get something straight: The Johnson Amendment does not prohibit non-profits and their leaders from engaging in politics. There is no ban on preaching or lobbying on any moral matter. Houses of worship and their leaders can – and very often do – speak out and take positions on a range of political, economic, and social issues — including war, poverty, human rights, abortion, contraception, and more. They can also engage in partisan political activities in their capacities as private citizens.

Yet still the religious right seeks to eliminate this restriction. Why?

Because eliminating this rule would allow the religious right to funnel tax-exempt money to political candidates in exchange for furthering their extreme agenda.

CFI has been working diligently with non-profit groups across the religious spectrum to prevent repeal of this important law. If we allow the Johnson Amendment to go down, the religious right will be able to buy their extremist agenda in Congress. Dark money would flow uncontrolled through churches to political campaigns, and ministers and priests could direct their flock from the pulpit to vote for particular individuals. In exchange, those elected officials will be expected to impose the beliefs of the religious right on the public: restricting access to abortion and contraception; discriminating against the LGBTQ community; replacing science classes with creationist dogma in our public schools.

As believers in a secular, humanist society, we cannot allow this to happen.

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CFI urges you to contact your representative in the House today and tell them to reject any attempts to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment during tax reform. Use our action alert system to send your member of Congress a written message, and use the Capitol switchboard to share your views over the phone. All your need to do is call (202) 224-3121 with your zip code and press “2” at the prompt to be connected with your representative in the House.