Today, President Trump signed an executive order to weaken the Johnson Amendment, claiming that the decades-old rule had “silenced” and “censored” pastors by treating houses of worship like other tax-exempt entities, which are prohibited from explicitly engaging in electoral politics.
During the campaign, Trump frequently talked about his opposition to the rule. He once declared at a rally in Texas that he would overturn it in hopes of empowering Christians, who he claimed—bizarrely—“don’t have a lobby” in Washington, D.C.: “Christianity is under siege. Every year it gets weaker and weaker and weaker.”
“I am going to work like hell to get rid of that prohibition, and we’re going to have the strongest Christian lobby, and it’s going to happen,” he said.
Trump claimed that because Christians have supposedly lost their voice, that if had he proposed a ban on Christians from entering the country—as he did for Muslims—there wouldn’t have been any outrage:
When I said that there has to be a temporary ban on certain people coming into this country, we have no choice, there’s something wrong, there’s something really wrong. And when I said ‘Muslim,’ I was met with furor. If I would’ve said ‘Christian,’ people would’ve said, ‘Oh we can’t do anything about it.’ That’s going to end folks.
Trump made the remarks while campaigning with radical pastor Robert Jeffress, who joined Trump last night at a White House dinner and meeting in the Oval Office.