Simon Brown posted this, as he left five years with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
…, I am especially saddened on a personal level by Trump’s repeated promise to repeal something called the “Johnson Amendment,” which was added to the federal tax code in 1954 thanks to the support of then-U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas). The amendment is intended to keep churches from endorsing or opposing candidates for office so that houses of worship do not turn into tiny political action committees that raise money for politicians.
There goes the last line separating organized religion from politics. Maybe tRump will have himself declared divine, as ancient Roman emperors did.
This has become topical again: an effective repeal of the Johnson Amendment is buried in the Republican tax "reform" bill that just passed the House (HR 1). Sec. 5201 originally applied just to churches, religious orders, and such, but was amended to apply to all 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofits. That's a coverup, not a fix.
Many pastors want the Johnson Amendment to remain, so they won't face pressure by wealthy donors to endorse or oppose particular candidates from the pulpit.
Let's also remember that churches (and other houses of worship) don't have to file Form 990. Unlike with other nonprofits, we don't know who gives them money, or how much they get, or where it goes. Every church in America could become a political weapon, a channel for anonymous dark money.
(I'm sure the oligarchs would be just fine with that!)