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Daily Action: Stop Lame-Duck Republicans from Gutting Church/State Separation


Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the congressperson to vote against any provision in this month’s 2019 spending bill that weakens or overturns the Johnson Amendment. Our tax-exempt churches must not be given free rein to engage in partisan political activity, or endorse political candidates from the pulpit! The Johnson Amendment is crucial to upholding our Founding Fathers’ goal of maintaining separation between church and state — and overturning it would make political contributions tax-deductible, a disastrous outcome when campaign finance issues already lead to so much corruption. Thank you!


BACKGROUND
As the clock runs out before Democrats take over the House in January, lame-duck Republicans have snuck one last attempt to repeal the Johnson Amendment into this month’s must-pass spending bill for 2019. For many years Republicans have targeted the Johnson Amendment, which was passed in 1954 and prohibits all 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations — including, most prominently, churches — from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Trump has promised repeatedly to repeal the amendment, an outcome that undoubtedly would favor conservative candidates who would benefit from the deep pockets of right-wing evangelical churches. If the amendment goes off the books, pastors will be free to directly endorse candidates and steer (untaxed) church funds toward campaign efforts.

If implemented, this repeal would seriously threaten the separation of Church and State and allow deep-pocketed donors to skirt campaign finance laws by funneling tax-free donations to candidates by way of churches. Religious leaders and institutions would become major money players in our government by serving as channels for dark money donations to political campaigns.