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house Bill H.R. 172

Should the Johnson Amendment be Repealed to Let Churches and Tax-Exempt Groups Engage in Politics?

Argument in favor

Churches and other religious or secular tax-exempt organizations have the right to free speech just as much as individuals and businesses, and as a result they should be able to participate in political campaigns without losing their privileged tax status.

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05/07/2017
Taxation is not a prerequisite for free speech. It is not a privilege purchased from government, but rather is a natural right. Make all groups, organizations, and individuals tax-exempt, and let them say whatever they want. It is a false tradeoff that you EITHER don't pay taxes OR can say whatever you want, as if paying taxes purchases your right to free speech. Simply false. You have a right to your speech AND you have a right to your property. Freedom of speech is not bestowed by government in exchange for being a tax payer - it is a natural right that is protected FROM government BY the Constitution. That goes for you as an individual, that goes for businesses, that goes for nonprofits, and that goes for religious organizations. Voting no means replacing the right to free speech with a tax-dependent privilege of free speech. Vote yes if you're not a tyrant.
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Annaclare's Opinion
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05/07/2017
It's interesting that people continue commenting "separation of church and state". If you look at the constitution it clearly states that the government cannot establish a specific religion or religious practices within the establishment clause. It also has something called the free exercise clause which allows every citizen of the United States to exercise their religion and their religious beliefs. Also the freedom of speech gives EVERYONE the right to say what the believe. There should be no interference with this right. This bill is not constitutional.
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Miles's Opinion
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05/07/2017
If a business can funnel money into politics why can't a church
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Argument opposed

Tax exempt organizations — whether they’re churches or not — shouldn’t be able to get involved in political campaigns and endorse candidates while maintaining their tax exempt status. It’s inappropriate to mix politics with religious institutions.

collins1129's Opinion
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05/07/2017
We need to protect the separation of church and state! Keep church influence out of politics. We also need to protect each citizen's religious freedom; the politicians trying to push this bill are the same who flip out over sharia law. No one should have to ever live under someone else's religion or be subjected to someone else's beliefs.
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Jay's Opinion
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05/07/2017
An impenetrable wall needs to be built between Church and State. The human race has already lived through a time when the Church ruled- it was called the Dark Ages!!!
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Tracy's Opinion
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05/07/2017
No. This is not what churches are for and it would violate The Establishment Clause. Vote against further attempts to erode the First Amendment.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017
    Bring this down and we are on our way to a theocracy.
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    Church and state should be separated.
    Like (29)
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    There is a good reason we have a separation of church and state.
    Like (24)
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    Allowing church to engage in politics would basically allow religious organization to bully LGBT people as well as majority religions to attack minority religions
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    Nope. Separation of church and state.
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    What is wrong with this Administration and those that so rabidly defend it? Is there anything our founding fathers put in place that they like? It seems they are hell bent on destroying our county, ignoring our Constitution and all of the ideals they represented when founding this country. They were absolutely against the church and state being commingled. The Yahoo!'s say that that is not specifically stated in the constitution. Maybe they think the Federalist papers are FAKE NEWS.
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    I think they should get rid of the tax exemption for church and any group that spread hate and most do! It's one thing to believe in God, it another to believe in religion.
    Like (18)
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    No no no and no - they can't have it both ways!
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    You're kidding right?
    Like (17)
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    Churches should not be exempt from tax when they have Starbucks and gyms in their facility that compete with other businesses.
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    Keeping government from endorsing the church is not the same thing as keeping the church from endorsing someone in government! The first case is following the Constitution, but the second case is trampling on it. Churches may do whatever they want! It is the government that cannot; the constitution is a restraint on government, not he church!
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    We must protect the separation of church and state
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    Why is the concept of separation of church and state such a baffling concept? It's a hallmark of the constitution. Why is this suddenly a gray area? Vote Nay.
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    The Johnson amendment (Wikipedia) was a bill in the 83rd Congress, H.R. 8300, which was enacted into law as the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The amendment was proposed by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas on July 2, 1954. (Johnson would later serve as President from 1963 to 1969.) The amendment was agreed to without any discussion or debate and included in Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (Aug. 16, 1954, ch. 736).[9] It was considered uncontroversial at the time, and continued to be included in the Internal Revenue Code. This would never be pass by the Founders because wasn't in the Constitution, but the '60 brought in the policies of Communism/Socialism because the Church pulpits were preaching against new Government social mandates. The Johnson amendment takes away freedom of speech and therefore needs repealed by real law, not by Executive Order. Free the First Amendment!
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    As a Christian, I'm ashamed of what churches are advocating for already. If these religious views are not for the benefit of the greater good, they don't belong in influencing the entire country
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    Simple...separation of church and state. Churches want such power they need to pay taxes. They should be allowed to have their cake and eat it too.
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    Religious institutions should not be able to use tax exempt funds to support political candidates and referendums via PACs. The donators to the institutions have received tax deductions for those gifts. This is not right!!!
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    I can't believe we're even talking about this. Why would we grant even more political power to churches? Ultimately the issue becomes: do we want to throw out the Constitution and substitute the Bible. We seem to recognize that Sharia wouldn't be a wise choice but we seem to have forgotten that Christian theocracy worked out quite badly for ordinary people during the Spanish Inquisition and for women in Salem, Massachusetts. And that allowing "faith" to suppress reason and science led to the Dark Ages, a time of truly brutal and hopeless existence for most.
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    Absolutely not. Churches need to focus on their religion NOT on politics.
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    Vote no on House Bill 172. Separation of church and state. Period.
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