President Trump Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast promised again that he would “get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution, I will do that- remember.” (President Trump Full Remarks Here).
We believe churches and church ministries should have free speech. The problem with the President’s promise is that churches already can speak freely, just not as a 501(c)(3) organization. See How Here
It is highly unlikely that the Johnson Amendment will be repealed; here are a few reasons why. First, many people and people of faith oppose repealing the Johnson Amendment. Second, the Johnson Amendment is part of federal law, the only way to repeal a section of federal law is through approval by both the US House and US Senate; not an easy task these days. A presidential executive order lacks standing and authority to amend federal law. Third, most 501(c)(3) organizations are not churches. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations. Of this number only about 312,000 nonprofits are churches. (Source Here). In other words, there are nearly 5 times as many non-church nonprofits as there are churches. Many of these nonprofits would not be supportive of the Republican Party, and therefore if given a voice to speak, would actively support the Democrat Party. Why would a Republican Congress approve a law that would potentially weaken their party? Finally, even if the Johnson Amendment is repealed, many 501(c)(3) organizations are funded by taxpayer money through federal or state grants. If these government subsidized nonprofits support or oppose candidates or speak out on legislation; federal courts will likely strike this down as unconstitutional.