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GOP Tax Reform Aims To Let Religious Groups Take Political Stances

by Countable | 12.11.17

What’s the story?

One of the differences between the House and Senate versions of GOP tax reform being debated this week has to do with political activity by religious and non-profit groups. The House version aims to eliminate the Johnson Amendment, while the Senate version leaves it alone. If the House version wins in the negotiations, nearly $2 billion dollars in donations to churches and nonprofit groups could be brought to bear directly on politics.

The Johnson Amendment, named for former President Lyndon B. Johnson, was instituted in 1954 as part of a tax code overhaul to prohibit churches and nonprofit groups from endorsing or directly opposing political candidates.

Based in the fundamental separation of church and state, the Johnson Amendment guarantees that political contributions are not tax deductible. Contributions to churches and nonprofit groups are both tax deductible, and not subject to campaign finance laws.

Leaders on the Religious Right see the change as giving them full access to free speech, while both religious and nonprofit opponents of the measure believe it would blur the line between charity and politics, reports the New York Times.

What do you think?

Should repeal of the Johnson Amendment be included in the final tax reform plan? Why, or why not?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Creative Commons)

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