Posted by Chuck Baldwin on Facebook, 2/22/17:
President Trump has said he wants to see the infamous Johnson Amendment expunged. Of course, this would take an act of Congress. But for the record, I absolutely agree with Donald Trump on this one.
The Johnson Amendment (introduced by then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson in 1954) is the amendment to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) which requires churches that organize under article 501c3 fall under “non-profit organization” status and, therefore, are restricted by law as to political speech and activity. Failure to comply theoretically threatens their tax-exempt status.
There are MANY components to this issue, which I will have the opportunity to address should Congress begin acting on Mr. Trump’s wishes. Right now, I will merely address one element–the BIGGEST element.
Here is the plain truth: the 501c3 tax code is a tree that most pastors and churches are hiding behind. They use the tax code as justification for not speaking out on the salient issues of the day–as if the government has ANY right to tell or even suggest what they may and may not preach. I guess these men never read the verse of Scripture where the apostle told the powers that be, “We must obey God rather than man.” I guess the never read the stories of Daniel and the three Hebrew children.
Yes, I would very much like to see Trump succeed in leading Congress to repealing the Johnson Amendment, but not for the reason most might think.
I already know what will happen should Congress repeal the Johnson Amendment: the vast majority of pastors and churches that are hiding behind the IRC 501c3 will simply find another tree to hide behind. The problem is not the tree; the problem is the cowardice of the man who hides behind it.
Do away with the Johnson Amendment and no one will even notice. Pastors will go on cowering in timidity, because the truth is: more than the fear of offending the IRS, pastors fear offending a carnal, temperamental, finicky, feeling-on-their-shoulders bunch of babies that comprise a large percentage of almost every church congregation. Pastors are much more fearful of tithes and offerings walking out the back door than they are of the IRS walking in the front door.
I want to see the Johnson Amendment expunged so that these timid and compromising pastors can be exposed for the cowards that they are. Without the Johnson Amendment, they will be forced to find another reason why they refuse to be the spiritual watchmen they are supposed to be, because there is absolutely no doubt that should the Johnson Amendment go away, they will quickly find another tree to hide behind.
Again, the problem is not the tree; the problem is the cowardice of the man who hides behind it.