Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Republican Tax Plan Would Let Churches, Synagogues Endorse Candidates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. religious entities would be allowed to engage in political activity without the risk of losing their tax-exempt status under a Republican proposal to overhaul the tax code unveiled on Thursday, a move that could give influential community leaders more latitude to try to influence voters.

The plan would eliminate a provision in the tax code known as the “Johnson Amendment,” which prohibits churches from using church resources to encourage voting for or against a candidate. A religious leader can currently endorse a candidate in their personal capacity, but they cannot do so within the confines of their church, mosque or synagogue or use their staff to help a candidate.

Supports say it will increase religious liberty. Opponents say it will allow political leaders to pressure churches and allow some churches to be turned into political operations.

The change would apply to all religious groups that register as non-profits, including places of worship for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

The announced change was part of a proposed cut in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent is the centerpiece of the tax proposal unveiled by House of Representatives Republicans. The plan would also reduce tax rates on some individuals and families.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.