At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday Trump called for the repeal of the Johnson amendment, the law that prohibits churches from supporting individual political candidates and still be exempt from paying taxes.
The logic behind the amendment is clear: If a church wishes to be a tax-exempt entity which can receive tax-exempt contributions, then it also must steer clear of participation in partisan politics. Not that it doesn’t already. It clearly does, as can be easily seen just by the list of church-backed organizations supporting the Gorsuch nomination. But by and large, it separates the political activity by carved-out nonprofit organizations which are separate from the church entity itself.
Churches should be careful about what they wish for, because gutting this amendment would put their tax-exempt status at risk. The Catholic Church would be ponying up a lot of money if this amendment was gutted, and that would be the beginning.
I am totally in favor of churches paying taxes. And that means all of them, from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to that little brown church in the vale. At the very least pay property taxes on the land they own that isn’t used specifically for worship services or non-partisan church business.
If they want to go around telling people about mythical history and warning of retribution from some mean magical sky faerie if we don’t vote for their favorites, they should have to pony up for the privilege.