Last week, more than 4,000 faith leaders nationwide did their part to urge Congress not to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment, the federal law that protects the integrity of nonprofit organizations – including houses of worship – by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates.
Now it’s your turn.
With members of Congress on their August recess, they’re in their home districts right now and available to meet with constituents before they head back to Washington, D.C., after Labor Day. It’s a perfect time for you to stop by and provide them with information that explains how the Johnson Amendment protects nonprofits, houses of worship, taxpayers and our elections.
You can explain that the Johnson Amendment keeps charities and churches from being used as political tools. That the law protects taxpayers, who should not be forced to subsidize the partisan election activities of these organizations. That weakening the law would allow the political divide in our communities to grow and hinder the ability of nonprofits to work for the common good.
You can also remind lawmakers that the Johnson Amendment has broad public support – from the majority of voters (including Republicans), from the majority of religious groups (including white evangelicals) and among a diverse network of faith leaders (including evangelical clergy). You can remind them that more than 4,500 nonprofits (including AU) sent them a letter in support of the Johnson Amendment. So did 99 religious and denominational groups.
Faith leaders delivered letters to members of Congress in support of the Johnson Amendment. Now it's your turn.
Adding your voice to the chorus of Johnson Amendment supporters is important now more than ever because President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to “get rid of” the Johnson Amendment. And he’s joined by a small but vocal group of lawmakers and far-right religious leaders seeking to use churches as tools to boost their own political power.
Just last month, the House Appropriations Committee approved the House Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bill that would cripple the IRS’ ability to enforce the Johnson Amendment. The spending bill next goes to the House floor. That’s why it’s crucial that members of Congress hear from you now.
This week and next, AU supporters are organizing Hometown Congressional Visits – meetings you and like-minded folks in your community set up with your members of Congress to educate them about the Johnson Amendment. We’ve created a toolkit with all the information you need to plan a visit with your representative and senators. If you’re unable to schedule a meeting, consider stopping by their offices and offering the staff some printed information about the Johnson Amendment, which you can find here.
If you are able to visit a congressional office, please let us know how it went by contacting Bill Mefford in our Field Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to take a selfie outside the office and send it to Bill – we would love to share it with others to show the grass-roots support for the Johnson Amendment.
Other actions you can take include: Signing a petition urging Congress to protect the Johnson Amendment; encouraging faith leaders you know to voice their support for the law; writing a letter to the editor to make sure your community knows about the Johnson Amendment’s important protections; and sharing this information with your friends and family and encourage them to take action.
For more than 60 years, the Johnson Amendment has played a vital role in the America’s fundamental promise of church-state separation. Please help us to prevent Trump and Congress from destroying it. You can learn more at our Project Fair Play campaign.