Earlier this month, we posted a clip of Rick Joyner praising Donald Trump for pledging to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the tax code that has long restricted the ability of nonprofit organizations, including churches, to engage in explicitly political activities and endorse or oppose candidates for office.
Joyner claimed that the provision was inserted into the tax code by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson specifically to “muzzle the church” because he was angry that Christian leaders had criticized him during his run for office. As we pointed out last time, this is entirely untrue:
That alternate version of history must come as a surprise to groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, which launched its “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” initiative back in 2008 to challenge the Johnson Amendment on the grounds that it was never intended to apply to churches.
As the ADF explained in this video it made back in 2012, Johnson was upset that two wealthy businessmen had used nonprofit organizations they had created to attack him when he ran for re-election in 1954 on the grounds that he was too soft on communism. In response, Johnson inserted an amendment into a bill overhauling the tax code that restricted the ability of nonprofit organizations to engage in overtly political activities.
According to the ADF, and contrary to Joyner’s claim, “Johnson never had churches in mind” when he added this amendment.
But just because this claim is false, that’s obviously not going to stop Joyner from repeating it, which he did on yesterday’s “Prophetic Perspectives on Current Events” program.
Johnson inserted this provision “specifically to muzzle churches, muzzle Christian leaders because he had personally been attacked by them so much in his campaigns,” Joyner falsely claimed. “He came up with this scheme and he was very open about it.”