TWH – Now that the season has turned and we are nearing the end of the 2017, we look back, one last time, to review this historic year. What happened? What didn’t happen? What events shaped our thoughts and guided our actions? In our collective worlds, both big and small, what were the major discussions?
WASHINGTON — Leave the Johnson Amendment intact was the message sent to Congress by American religious leaders from around the country. Jointly organized by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), a recent protest letter and petition garnered over 4,000 signatures in support of keeping the IRS nonprofit tax code provisions and restrictions. The joint action followed two other similar but separate letters sent in April – one by “99 national and state religious groups” and then another by “4,500 nonprofit organizations.” As we reported in March, the Johnson Amendment is part of the IRS’ tax code that “prohibits political campaign activity” by nonprofit 501(c)(3) charities and churches. Since launching his bid for the presidency and well into his elected term, Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to “repeal that language” or “completely destroy” that code in order to “protect free speech for all Americans.”
UNITED STATES — President Donald J. Trump’s latest executive order is titled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” While some readers may be scratching their heads wondering why the current administration feels the need to promote the U.S. Constitution’s guaranteed First Amendment rights, others may feel that the little age-old document needed a good dusting off, and a signal boost. However, the executive is order is not aimed at simply lifting up what is already clearly written into national law, but rather it is aimed, theoretically, at defining it, directing it, and, as some believe, suffocating it. During the election process, Trump and running mate Mike Pence advocated for the dismantling of the now infamous Johnson Amendment. As we reported in the past, the Johnson Amendment was implemented in 1954 to prevent nonprofit organizations from influencing politics.
WASHINGTON – On Feb. 2, President Donald Trump returned for a brief moment to a recurring issue facing his administration: the Johnson Amendment. At the National Prayer Breakfast, he told the attendees,”Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why 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. I will do that — remember.”
MILFORD, Utah — The ADF community woke up to shocking news as word spread that member Matt Schofield (1989 – 2017) had committed suicide Mar. 4. Schofield was veteran of the Marine Corps, and reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Recently his beloved therapy dog, Bear, had gone gone missing, which was reportedly a devastating loss for Schofield. Friends have said that the grief must have been too much to handle. Born Nov.