During the opening panel at this year’s Values Voter Summit, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana declared that the Johnson Amendment must be repealed so that “we can unshackle the voice of the church.”
The Johnson Amendment prevents tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from advocating for or against candidates for office and President Trump has made repealing it a priority so that conservative Christian churches will be able to talk freely about how much they love him.
Falsely claiming that the IRS “has been censoring and silencing the pulpit,” Johnson wrongly claimed that the amendment was enacted “as a vendetta against some churches in Houston that opposed” the election of Lyndon Johnson to the Senate in the 1950s.
That claim is entirely false, which Johnson ought to know since he served as a spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been fighting the Johnson Amendment for years by insisting that “Johnson never had churches in mind” when it was enacted.
Johnson said that Congress must repeal these restrictions and “unleash the pulpits of this country again, that’s the moral leadership that we need for America at this very pivotal time and I think it’d be a game changer.”
Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina agreed, saying, “The voices on the left were never shackled, now it’s time to unshackle the voices on the right.”