Trump's Support Caps 25 Years Of TVC's Religious Freedom Agenda
|Rev. Louis Sheldon|
So the big news that the Republican nominee for president Donald J. Trump not only announced support the Brightline Bill, but did so during his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination? That's huge news for Christians around the country!
The Johnson Amendment, for those who may not recall, is an amendment tucked in to the U.S. Tax Code that specifically prohibits churches and other tax exempt organizations from calling for the election or defeat of a political candidate.
The problem, of course, is that there is NOTHING in the U.S. Constitution that allows the state to regulate the church. The First Amendment is clear: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
The Johnson Amendment is unconstitutional on its face. We have talked to leadership, and there is serious movement to get the Brightline Bill passed and repeal the Johnson Amendment for good. Churches have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech; they simply cannot involve themselves in political activity with tax-deductible dollars (and we're fine with that).
But here is a list of things churches. church members can do -- right now!!
- Preach from the pulpit.
- Discuss doctrine as it applies to politics, legislative matters or candidate positions.
- Conduct non-partisan voter registration drives.
- Conduct non-partisan voter identification drives.
- Conduct “get-out-the-vote” drives, encouraging members to vote.
- Conduct petition drives regarding legislation or other issues.
- Distribute non-partisan voter education materials, such as TVC Voter Guides and scorecards, Right to Life and Family Council Voter Guides.
- Host candidate or issue forums where all viable candidates are invited and allowed to speak.
- Allow candidates and elected officials to speak at church services.
- Educate members about pending legislation.
- Support or oppose political appointments (such as judges or cabinet officials).
- Lobby for legislation and spend no more than an insubstantial amount of their budget (five percent is safe) on direct lobbying activities.
- Participate fully in political committees that are independent of the church.
- Lobby for legislation in their private capacity.
- Make expenditures on behalf of referendums
- Rent church member contact lists to favored lobbying groups.
- Pastors may endorse candidates in their capacity as private citizens -- no pastor loses his right to free speech because he is an employee of a church (if title and church name are used, include a “title and affiliation for identification purposes only” disclaimer).
Restoring the voice of our churches, our ministries, our pastors, our priests, our religious, and the holy men and women of God is a moral imperative in times such as these!
Traditional Values Coalition has been a 25 year champion of the Brightline Bill and a total repeal of the unconstitutional Johnson Amendment, not just because it muzzles our pastors and churches, but because it is the right thing to do.
TVC may not always take the credit for that hard work... but as Ronald Reagan used to remind us, it's amazing what can get done when no one takes the credit -- right?
We will need your help to see it through. Members of Congress need to be reminded that regardless as to how the presidential elections go, we will restore our rights of religious liberty -- if not through the legislature, then certainly through the courts.
This won't be a short fight. It could be a multi-month fight with many steps along the way. That's why I wanted to make sure you were willing to put your name behind the Brightline Bill and a total repeal of the Johnson Amendment.
I hope this is helpful to you, because I wanted to make sure you knew two things: (1) that TVC is fighting for you -- always; and (2) that the fight to reclaim our religious freedom and restore America as a moral and religious people is on in a big way, which is why I need your support.
Trump's support for our 25 year fight to repeal the Johnson Amendment is one word -- YUGE.
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon is Chairman and Founder of the Traditional Values Coalition.
Tags: Louis P. Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition, Churches, pastors, church members, Brightline Bill, legislation, repeal, unconstitutional, speech-muzzling, Johnson Amendment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!