Last week, right-wing pastor Stephen Broden joined various Religious Right activists and conservative members of Congress for a press conference calling for the passage of the Free Speech Fairness Act to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a 62 year-old provision that prohibits tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, from explicitly endorsing or opposing political candidates.
Broden appeared on Gordon Klingenschmitt’s “Pray In Jesus Name” program this week to discuss the importance of repealing the Johnson Amendment, repeatedly insisting that the rule, which is seldom enforced for churches, is being used to “shut down pastors from addressing political issues in the public square and across their pulpit” and to “restrict the voice of the church in the public square.”
“This Johnson Amendment, in a sense, has just muzzled the church and shut them out of the public discourse,” Broden asserted, before undermining his own case by declaring that any Democrat in the Senate who refuses to support the Free Speech Fairness Act or attempts to filibuster it will see themselves targeted for defeat in the next election.
“I can’t imagine that a filibuster will be employed in light of the fact that we have 10 senators who are in red states who are blue who definitely need to be very careful how they conduct themselves during this legislative session,” he warned. “They need to be very careful because we’re paying attention and there are plans, I’m sure, if things go awry that we will certainly hit those states and try to move the needle in a way that will remove them out of the way.”
It’s a little hard to understand how the church and conservative Christians are supposedly unable to participate in the political process because they are being “muzzled” by the Johnson Amendment when Broden is publicly vowing to create a massive effort to defeat any Democrat who dares to oppose efforts to repeal it.