Lawmakers Propose Doing Away With The Johnson Amendment

Thursday, February 9th 2017, 7:41 pm
By: Grant Hermes

After one of the most controversial political seasons, some are looking to places of faith for guidance. But a little-known law prevents pastors from endorsing candidates and it's something Sen. James Lankford is hoping to reverse.

But, some non-profits and many churches say not endorsing may be a good thing.

Speaking at the national prayer breakfast last week, President Donald Trump doubled down on a promise to evangelicals looking to endorse politicians; a promise Lankford is hoping to keep by introducing the “Free Speech Fairness Act.”

Lankford saying in a statement, “The federal government and the IRS should never have the ability to inhibit free speech.”

Marnie Taylor is the CEO for the Oklahoma Center for Non-profits. She says the Johnson Amendment is the last line of defense preventing organizations and churches from being manipulated by politicians looking to capitalize on high levels of trust from members and congregations.

Non-profits are already allowed to advocate for issues, something Taylor encourages. She says talk about political speech may actually help non-profits in the end, as long as it doesn't go too far.