Photo Credit: Bob Jagendorf/Wikipedia
ALBANY, N.Y. — The Democratic governor of New York has signed a bill that codifies into state law already-existing federal rules prohibiting churches and nonprofit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
Senate Bill 4347 states that “any corporation, association, trust, or community chest, fund, foundation, or limited liability company, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary or educational purposes” may not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
The legislation is meant to mirror the Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954 and introduced by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson.
Groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have desired the repeal of the federal amendment as they believe that it gags churches from teaching their congregations, with specificity and relevance, how to vote biblically.
“The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS,” ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb said in 2014. “Rather than risk confrontation, many pastors have self-censored their speech — afraid to apply the teachings of Scripture to specific candidates or elections.”
In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the IRS not to enforce the electioneering prohibition.
“No one should be censoring sermons or targeting pastors,” he said during a rose garden signing on the National Day of Prayer. “America has a rich tradition of social change beginning in our
The remainder of this article is available in its entirety at Christian News