On his latest “Prophetic Perspectives on Current Events” program, Rick Joyner recounted his experience attending the meeting that Donald Trump held last month with nearly 1,000 Religious Right activists.
One thing that really electrified the crowd, Joyner said, was Trump’s pledge to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the tax code that has long restricted the ability of nonprofit organizations to engage in explicitly political activities and endorse or oppose candidates for office.
To hear Joyner tell it, that provision was placed into the tax code by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson specifically because he wanted to punish churches and Christians.
“Lyndon Johnson was very candid about how he wanted to impose a restraint on Christians and on churches from speaking into the current issues of the times,” Joyner claimed. “He was really angry at the church because of the way they had constantly opposed him or challenged him in his elections and this was a way he thought he could muzzle the church.”
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: