Now, it is Republicans who are promoting a falsehood.

Democrats have been promoting all kinds of political falsehoods lately. Now, it is Republicans who are promoting a political falsehood.

Take a look at the following headline and see if you can figure out what is wrong with it.

If you can’t figure out what is wrong, then here is a clue:

(Drum roll please!)

Churches are already allowed to engage in political activities if they want to.

From The Hill:

“On the same day President Trump vowed to “destroy” a law preventing religious groups and churches from engaging in political activities, Republicans in the House and Senate introduced legislation to make the proposal reality.

The law known as the Johnson Amendment, first enacted in 1954, prohibits churches and other religious organizations from keeping their tax-exempt status if they endorse political candidates or participate in partisan political activities.”

Contrary to what President Trump and congressional Republicans say, the Johnson Amendment isn’t preventing religious groups and churches from engaging in political activities. Instead, the Amendment places a limitation on tax-exempt status.

The Hill quotes Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) as saying, “For too long, the IRS has used the Johnson Amendment to silence and threaten religious institutions and charitable entities. As a minister who has experienced intimidation from the IRS firsthand, I know just how important it is to ensure that our churches and nonprofit organizations are allowed the same fundamental rights as every citizen of this great nation.”

The Hill quotes Senator James Lankford (R-OK) as saying, “People who work for a nonprofit still have constitutional rights to assembly, free speech, and free press.”

Hice and Lankford are correct in that people in the USA have freedom of speech, which is why churches and their leaders can already say whatever they want.

What Republicans don’t understand is that having a tax-exempt status isn’t a constitutional right. If it were, then the Johnson Amendment wouldn’t exist in the first place.

The Johnson Amendment isn’t preventing Christian churches and their leaders from promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is because the Christian faith is politically neutral – which is why it is OK for Christians to be Democrats as well as Republicans.

I wouldn’t fret if the Johnson Amendment were repealed. Still, this particular fight by Republicans is based on a falsehood.

If Democrats should be reprimanded whenever they promote a falsehood, then Republicans should be, too, when they do the same thing.

Advice and Consent
Wizbang Weekend Caption Contest™
  • Hank_M

    “Churches are already allowed to engage in political activities if they want to.”

    If they can’t endorse or oppose someone and cannot engage in partisan political activties, what political activities can they engage in?

    Why can’t Churches have the same free speech everyone else has?

    • Scalia

      They would reply that “everyone else” pays income/property taxes whereas churches do not. That, of course, overlooks the fact that homeless persons don’t pay income/property taxes either, but they don’t lose their fundamental rights.

    • jim_m

      They currently can engage in any and all political activity up to and including candidate endorsement. As long as they are leftist. If they are conservative they are harassed for any political activity including issue advocacy.

      The reason for getting rd of this law is that it is unfairly enforced.

  • I grade this article: Mostly False and Intentionally Misleading.

  • Retired military

    The Hill is antitrump and was antiTrump all through the election.

  • Idahoser

    they’re “allowed” but punished, UNLIKE democrat churches. This will level the playing field.

    But while we’re considering improving things, no law can ever be fair if anybody is exempted.

    If you must unconstitutionally tax incomes, then one rate, paid by ALL, no exceptions, no exemptions, no excuses is the only way it can be fair.

  • Scalia

    David Robertson writes,

    Contrary to what President Trump and congressional Republicans say, the Johnson Amendment isn’t preventing religious groups and churches from engaging in political activities. Instead, the Amendment places a limitation on tax-exempt status.

    The Newspeak here is rather thick. That’s like saying you’re free to speed anytime you like. You just have to pay a ticket for the privilege. David, I’ll give you a free phone for $500.00. Email me for the details.

  • Paul Hooson

    Spiritual discernment should keep churches concentrated on spiritual matters, not worldly matters and politics. Some like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are very religious people who completely ignore politics. On the other side, some churches like the one run by the late Dr. James Kennedy are nothing but a “politics church” where God is lucky to even receive an honorable mention.

    • Scalia

      The decision to participate in or stay away from politics is a separate issue. The question is whether churches should lose their tax-exempt status for exercising political speech.

    • jim_m

      Only a fool believes that spiritual maters have no relation to the real world.

      Oh wait, what am I thinking? Look who I am responding to.

      • Paul Hooson

        Jesus taught to believe in his father’s kingdom, although he did encourage to at least “give caesar” his due taxes. The more worldly a church is, the less spiritual it is. A church is meant to bring together believers, not to bring together Democrats or Republicans, which is the job of political parties. Further, a church can ask for members to abide by certain behaviors and conduct, but does not have the right to impose it’s own beliefs on nonbelievers or members of other faiths. Look at “blue laws” in some states in which it is illegal for a car dealer or other businessman to open their business on the “Christian Sabbath” for some, but Saturday is day of worship for Jews and Adventists, or Friday is day of worship for Muslims. – I think churches have the right to oppose when government regulations impact their own members or their faith worship. But, on the other hand most persons are not aware that the Mormon faith and some other churches sometimes hire active lobbyists who lobby state legislatures on a continual basis on all sorts of legislation, even if there is little connection to their own church as an example.

        • jim_m

          Don’t lecture me about my faith when you don’t believe it you arrogant asshole.

          The church is supposed to be in the world but not of it. Your claim that it has nothing to do or say about the real world is obviously false and you twist scripture as a non believer to defame my faith.

          FUCK YOU!!

        • jim_m

          Your crap is about as informed about the Christian faith as the protocols of Zion are on the Jewish. Should we continue our discussion on that basis or you want to back the fuck off?

          • Paul Hooson

            I know that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a high value in the eyes of Jesus and God. My personal life is imperfect, but I do have a strong and unshakable faith in God.

          • Scalia

            Off topic. Churches should not be penalized for political speech. Stay focused—I know it’s hard for you.

          • Paul Hooson

            I probably agree with you on that. Spiritually I think it erodes a church to get too involved in world politics, but whether a church should also lose tax exempt status seems like a double penalty because lukewarm churches are not so much in the eyes of God, if one is to believe what the Apostle Paul writes about some churches.

          • jim_m

            I would want someone to tell me if I was embarrassing myself publicly. I am doing you that courtesy.

          • Brucehenry

            (Pssst! You’re embarrassing yourself publicly.)

            “I am doing you that courtesy” says the guy who just typed FUCK YOU in all caps. You can’t make this shit up.

          • jim_m

            You embarrass yourself by crawling back here.

          • Even worse, you are defending him.

          • Paul Hooson

            No, I hold Christians in high regard. Many are strong defenders of Israel and persons of good will.

          • Brian Brandt

            I normally confine my comments to the weekend caption contest and stay out of these disputes, but with all due respect Jim, the F-bombs seem uncalled for.

          • jim_m

            Yeah, perhaps. It caught me at a bad moment.

          • Brian Brandt

            Hey, I’ve been known to drop a few myself. Usually behind the wheel at some other driver.

          • Scalia

            I hope you comment more regularly. Your observations are welcome.

  • yetanotherjohn

    To me the issue is that this is a law that is honored in the breach, mostly by one side.

    Still, some Americans – 14% of those who attended religious services in the spring and early summer – say their clergy have spoken out in support of, or in opposition to, one of the presidential candidates during this campaign season. One-in-ten (9%) say they have heard clergy speak out in support of a candidate, including 6% who say they heard support for Hillary Clinton and 1% who heard support for Donald Trump. A similar share of churchgoers (11%) say they have heard religious leaders speak out against a candidate, including 7% who say their clergy have come out in opposition to Trump and 4% who have heard opposition to Clinton. These figures include some people (6%) who have heard both types of arguments.

    Compared with other groups, black Protestant churchgoers report hearing more direct talk about candidates from church leaders. They have heard much more support for Clinton (28%) than for Trump (2%) and have heard clergy speak out against Trump (20%) more often than against Clinton (7%). Smaller shares of white evangelical Protestant churchgoers report hearing their clergy speak out in support of (4%) or against (7%) specific candidates, and the message is more mixed; for instance, 2% have heard clergy speak out against Trump and 2% say clergy spoke out in support of him. http://www.pewforum.org/2016/08/08/many-americans-hear-politics-from-the-pulpit/

    Either lets enforce the law for all or lets get rid of the law. David claims to want to be “independent” but he sure takes a lot of positions, like this one, that benefits the left.

  • Vagabond661

    Is there such a thing as “fake blog”?

  • pennywit

    Somebody will need to enlighten me. Apart from holding worship services, how do churches differ, legally, from secular nonprofits that are also barred from partisan political activity?

    I am inclined to say that if churches, as organizations, are allowed to engage in partisan political activities without losing their tax-exempt status, then secular nonprofits ought to be extended the same rights.

    • jim_m

      I think the issue has been more about unequal enforcement of the law.

    • What you fail to grasp is that our country was founded to secure religious freedom and our Constitution drafted to ensure the same ends. Secular non-profits, not so much.

      HETL

    • Retired military

      “then secular nonprofits ought to be extended the same rights.”
      they do especially on the dem side. No one ever calls them on it. THe same way you have tax exempt “nonpartisian” organizations who run ads against republicans every election

    • jim_m

      The Johnson amendment applies to all 501(c)3 organizations. So your concern about secular nonprofits has already been addressed.

  • pennywit

    Also, it is not the role of President Trump to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment. It is the role of Congress to repeal it. I think somebody needs to remind President Trump of this.

  • Elvisis007

    Why are Unions which are also tax exempt allowed to donate to elections ?

    • Brian Brandt

      I believe the ‘legal’ reason is that they’re not 401(c)3’s. Of course, the more realistic answer is that they favor the Dems.

  • TheyTukRJobz

    So, for 160+ years after the Constitution was ratified, there was no belief that churches should be fined (taxed) for the right to free speech.

    Then along came politicians who decided that the best way to get re-elected was to politically silence the institution that was probably the most influential and important to the American electorate – their churches – by threatening their funding source.

    Yeah, I’m not to impressed with the politicians’ war on religion. Perhaps LBJ found that churches were becoming political rallying points in the fight for blacks’ civil rights, something that he and his fellow Southern Democrats were against.

  • jim_m

    what people fail to see is that this is not about Churches. The Johnson Amendment forbids direct political activity from all non-profits.

    It is this part of the tax code that the IRS has used to harass, intimidate and shut down conservative groups. David’s litany of left wing talking points is meant to distract from the reality that the left needs to keep this in place to silence right wing dissent.

    Killing the Johnson amendment is critical to free speech rights and political freedom in this nation. Keep it, and the IRS will find a way to silence political speech. It’s already been shown that we cannot trust the bureaucracy to obey Trump’s directives. Only by changing the law will we be able to secure our freedoms.

  • Par4Course

    No politician has the guts to propose it, but one possibility would be to phase out tax exemptions for churches and other currently tax-exempt organizations. An immediate repeal would be unfair, but a gradual phase out at say 5% per year would allow them to the take on the same burden as property owners. Then let them advocate and endorse at will.

    • jim_m

      Explain why it is that a tax exemption must cone with the surrender of civil rights?

      Originally, the reason that churches were tax exempt was to prevent government interference with religion. Seems that the Johnson Amendment skirts that.

  • Wild_Willie

    Black churches for decades has preached politics from the pulpit with no warning from the IRS. Other churches have been afraid to take on social issues due to possible threats to their tax free status. I for one am glad the fear is removed so churches will again teach the Word Of God including issues that are contrary to our society. ww

  • pennywit