After the issue that possible could've caused a rift between the Australian and the US governments, President Trump has come up with yet another vow that revokes the Johnson amendment, "liberating" Christian pastors and allowing them to express freely on political matters without any fear of being subject to punishment (their churches being removed from the tax-exempt list).
Donald Trump on Thursday made an announcement that he would destroy the restrictions placed upon tax-exempt churches according to the 1954 Johnson Amendment. The law prohibits tax-exempt churches from opposing or endorsing any political leader or they risk losing their tax-free status.
At the National Prayer Breakfast, Mr. Trump emphasized on the rights of religion. He said that the freedom of religion is everyone's right and that it is under threat, & that is why he would get rid of the Johnson amendment allowing all pastors to speak their minds freeing them all from possible retribution.
Rescinding this law would mean that the entire Congress has to approve it, which isn't a small task, as both the Republicans and the Democrats would view this as removal of demarcation between the state and the church. The religious leaders were delighted upon hearing the announcement made by Trump, and many of them went on to applaud the step.
Several religious leaders also showed unhappiness over the decision, say that it gives a reason for political parties to make churches endorse them, which would cause a division within the faith. They feel, the law effectively shields the church from the pressures of political parties to endorse them.
A member of the evangelical board of the president, Johnnie Moore said that the wasn't lobbied by anyone to take up this issue, but he himself came up with this when he said that religion is being denied the right to free speech, during his meet with the board members at the time of the presidential campaigns back in June. He had reportedly asked pastors why they weren't courageous to speak out about political matters, to which they had replied by saying that they were worried their tax-exempt status might be revoked. This pushed the president to pursue the matter and said that everybody had freedom of speech in the country except for churches.
While many see the move as one that frees the churches to express more freely, others feel that the matters of the state and the church have to have definite boundaries!