A modification to the Johnson Amendment, a longtime target of conservative Christian groups that bars churches from endorsing or financially supporting political candidates, would now allow clergy to endorse candiates from the pulpit, according to the Washington Post.
It keeps in place a prohibition on churches donating to political campaigns.
The proposal, part of the House Republicans' tax plan, states that churches will no longer be found guilty of breaking the law “because of the content of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious services or gatherings.”
“It’s really a carve-out to make sure, in the views of those who support it, that the pulpit is a free-speech zone, if you will,” Charles Haynes, a religious liberty expert at the Newseum, told the Washington Post.
The Johnson Amendment was drafted by then-Sentaor Lyndon B. Johnson in 1954. Some were worried the full amendment would be repealed should Trump become president, a campaign promise he made in 2016, but under this plan, the Amendment would still bar churches from endorsing candidates financially.
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