BJC responds to removal of language that would have undermined the protections of the Johnson Amendment

Baptist Joint Committee's picture

December 15, 2017
Media contact: Cherilyn Crowe / ccrowe@BJConline.org  / Office:  202-544-4226  / Cell: 202-670-5877

Tyler: This is a big win for churches, synagogues, mosques, other 501(c)(3) organizations and those who rely on them

Upon the ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that language undermining the “Johnson Amendment” would violate the Byrd rule and therefore be kept out of the final tax bill, Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, released the following statement:

“If this tax bill passes, one thing Americans won’t have to worry about is whether their house of worship or local charitable nonprofit will be turned into a PAC. This is a big win for churches, synagogues, mosques, all other 501(c)(3) nonprofits, and the people who rely on them as a vital part of our society. 

“A troubling change was stuck into a huge tax bill on the fast track in the hopes that those most affected wouldn’t notice and have time to advocate for their interests. Fortunately, as more Americans learned of the proposal and its likely impact, they raised their voices – calling and writing their representatives and senators, sharing concerns with their neighbors through local and social media, and joining thousands of faith leaders at Faith-Voices.org. Now all those committed to protecting the independence and nonpartisanship of our 501(c)(3) sector need to stay alert for other attempts to change the law.”

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Additional Resources:

  • The BJC was one of more than 100 religious groups that urged Congress not to weaken the Johnson Amendment. Visit BJConline.org/CommunityNotCandidates
  • More than 4,000 faith leaders from all 50 states urged Congress to keep the protections of the Johnson Amendment. Read the letter and see the signers at Faith-Voices.org
  • More than 5,000 nonprofits have asked Congress to keep the current law. Read their letter at GiveVoice.org
  • Tyler provided letter testimony in May on how the Johnson Amendment protects houses of worship.
  • Tyler released a statement Nov.2 when the House bill was released: “Pastors and people of faith know that there’s nothing free about a pulpit that is bought and paid for by political campaign donations or beholden to partisan interests.”

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty is an 81-year-old religiously based organization working to defend religious freedom for all people and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition.

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