President Trump Vows to Repeal Political-Activity Restrictions on Religious Groups

(AP/Hamodia) -
President Donald Trump prays during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Warning that religious freedom is “under threat,” President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to repeal the Johnson Amendment, an IRS rule barring 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations — including religious groups — from endorsing or opposing political candidates, or contributing to political campaigns.

“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution,” Trump said during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, a high-profile event bringing together faith leaders, politicians and dignitaries.

Trump did not detail how he will scrap the IRS rule, which he has previously pledged to do away with. The rule has been in place since 1954, but it is very rare for a church to actually be penalized.

In a poll released last September by Lifeway Research, a religious survey firm based in Nashville, eight in 10 Americans said it was inappropriate for pastors to endorse a candidate in church.