Why Can’t Churches Endorse Political Candidates?

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Many churches can’t endorse political candidates. Here’s the long — and surprising — history behind the ban

Among the many policy positions embedded in the 2016 Republican Party Platform is a call to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a controversial Internal Revenue Service regulation that has come under fire from churches and religious freedom advocates in recent years.

The little-known tax provision applies exclusively to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, precluding them from endorsing — or campaigning against — candidates for federal elected office.

The rationale behind the Johnson Amendment is that nonprofit organizations and churches are exempt from paying certain taxes and, therefore, should not be permitted to show power or sway in the election of candidates.  Read more here.