President Donald Trump signed an order Thursday aimed at allowing churches to be more politically active. Trump’s order eases tax restrictions on political activity conducted by tax-exempt churches and organization.
The executive order directs the Internal Revenue Service to exercise “maximum enforcement discretion” over the Johnson amendment, which is a provision in the tax code that prohibits churches and nonprofit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Trump said the federal government has used its power to hurt people of faith, punishing and bullying people due to their religious beliefs.
Some conservative Christian churches have been concerned about their tax-exempt status if they declare their opposition of gay rights or same-sex marriage. Other church leaders say the Johnson amendment is the ideal way to keep the church as a holy place away from politics.