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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Is Trump Lying to Evangelicals about Religious Liberty?

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jul 27
  • Comments

During a recent speech, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that he will abolish an amendment that restricts the religious freedom of churches.


Trump was referring to the Johnson Amendment which was sponsored by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson. 


As ChristianHeadlines.com previously reported, the Johnson Amendment states that churches and other religious organizations cannot, “Participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of – or in opposition to – any candidate for public office."


Trump, who has been courting the evangelical vote, stated, “We're going to get rid of that horrible Johnson amendment and we're going to let evangelicals, we're going to let Christians and Jews and people of religion talk without being afraid to talk.”


“We don’t have a [Christian] lobby because they are afraid, because they don’t want to lose their tax status,” he continued. “So I am going to work like hell to get rid of that prohibition and we are going to have the strongest Christian lobby and it’s going to happen. And it’s going to happen. This took place during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and it has had a terrible, chilling effect.” 


While many Christians praised Trump’s vow to repeal the amendment, David Cay Johnston, writing for TheDailyBeast.com notes that Trump is taking the real implications of the Johnson Amendment out of context.


In reality, writes Johnston, the Johnson Amendment was part of a renovation of the tax code that prohibits nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations from turning their primary activity into a political one. This, notes Johnston, actually protects people from being forced to subsidize donations to a candidate they do not support.


Johnston cautions Christians to reconsider their allegiance to Trump and to recognize that what he espouses doesn’t actually line up with Christian values. 



Publication date: July 27, 2016