CFI Joins Groups in Urging Trump, Congress to Preserve Church and Charity Nonpartisanship
March 8, 2017
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) was amongst 86 religious and secular groups this week to urge President Donald Trump and members of Congress to preserve the Johnson Amendment and keep partisan politics out of 501(c)(3) organizations.
The Johnson Amendment is a federal law that bars tax-exempt, non-profit organizations — including houses of worship and educational and advocacy groups such as CFI — from endorsing or opposing political candidates for elected office. The Amendment recently gained national attention after President Trump vowed at the Naitonal Prayer Breakfast in Feburary to “totally destroy” the law. But, without it, Americans could not be sure their charitable donations were going solely to a charitable mission, and religious organizations could become a funnel for tax-deductible secret spending in elections.
As we write in the letter:
Without this rule, nonpartisan charities and places of worship would be open to manipulation for political ends. Up to now, charities and religious organizations have been insulated from electioneering, and instead have been committed to doing good work, like alleviating poverty, ministering to the spirit, curing disease, and addressing other basic human and social needs. Changing the law jeopardizes the public’s confidence that their charitable contributions would be used for these universally valued purposes rather than mere partisan politics.