By Message Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) has co-introduced legislation that could repeal an amendment that has restricted free speech of churches and non-profit agencies from speaking openly about moral, political and social issues with fear of losing tax-exempt status.
During a ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 2, Johnson appeared with other legislators and pastors for introduction of H.R. 781, also known as the Free Speech and Fairness Act. If passed, the legislation would repeal the Johnson Amendment, which was named after Lyndon Johnson, a Texas senator when the bill was issued in 1954. He eventually became president of the U.S.
President Donald Trump has also voiced support for repealing the Johnson Amendment. During the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 2, Trump promised to “totally destroy” the amendment.
“Two of our most sacred and unalienable rights protected by the Constitution are the right to religious freedom and the right to speak freely without fear of prosecution,” said Rep. Johnson, a member of First Baptist Church Bossier City, in a news release. “The Johnson Amendment infringes upon both of these by subjecting churches and non-profits to IRS investigation and censorship depending on what they say. The fact that this amendment has been in effect for more than 60 years is ludicrous. America’s pastors should not be silenced, but afforded every opportunity to spread their message. Simply put, the Johnson Amendment goes against our nation’s core principles and should be repealed immediately. I am delighted to so-sponsor the historic legislation that will unleash the voice of the church once again.”