Johnson-Amendment Church 3.jpg
Johnson-Amendment Church 3.jpg


Looking To Learn More
About The Johnson Amendment?
We Have Several Resources
That You Can Use.



Looking To Learn More
About The Johnson Amendment?
We Have Several Resources
That You Can Use.


Talking Points

The Johnson Amendment protects
the integrity of houses or worship
& other tax-exempt organizations

Talking Points

The Johnson Amendment protects
the integrity of houses or worship
& other tax-exempt organizations

The Johnson Amendment protects the integrity of tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose candidates. Americans do not want our charities and houses of worship to be torn apart by partisan campaign politics.

Charities and Houses of Worship are tax free because they work for the common good, not so they can Support political candidates.  

  • If we repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment, taxpayers would essentially be forced to subsidize the political campaign activities of churches and other non-profits. Changing the law would also incentivize donations to organizations to support political candidates when the whole purpose of the tax-exemption is to support work that serves the community. 

  • The repeal or weakening of current law would dismantle the non-profit structure as we know it and fundamentally change the character of tax-exempt organizations. 

Political parties and candidates seeking power shouldn’t Be Allowed To use our churches and charities as political campaign tools.  

  • Current law ensures that sanctuaries remain sacred and houses of worship focus on fostering community and performing good works. This also applies to secular non-profit organizations, who without the pressure to shift their resources to candidates and campaigns, can focus on fulfilling their missions. 

  • No one wants political candidates and those seeking political power to be able to use houses of worship and other charities for their own personal political gain. This is especially true when these entities are receiving special tax-exempt status.

Changing current law to encourage churches to endorse and oppose political candidates will divide congregations.

  • Americans do not need or want more places to be divided from one another over political candidates running for office.

  • Changing the law could lead to divisions within houses of worship and among congregants, as they become split along party lines. It could also pit houses of worship against each other.

  • Changing the law could also divide charities along party lines. For example, a community could see two adversarial food pantries spring up—one that is run by and funded by Republicans and only serves those who will support Republican candidates, and the other that is run by and funded by Democrats and only serves those who will support Democratic candidates. 

Houses of worship and their leaders have robust free speech rights and can already speak out on political and social issues. 

  • Houses of worship can speak out on political or social issues. For instance, houses of worship can take positions on issues of concern, lobby on legislation and endorse or oppose non-partisan referendums; host candidate forums and distribute answers to candidate questionnaires; and encourage people to vote, including through voter registration drives, and driving people to the polls.  

  • Church leaders are absolutely free to support or endorse political candidates as private citizens or even run for office—just like any of us can. 

Americans don’t want churches in the business of endorsing or opposing political parties and candidates.

  • Changing the law is extremely unpopular. Two different polls conducted in March 2017 (one by Independent Sector and one by PRRI) found that more than 70% of voters want to keep the Johnson Amendment in place. Sixty-two percent of Republicans and fifty-six percent of white evangelical Protestants also support current law.  Read more about the recent polls.



The Vast Majority of Americans
Support the Johnson Amendment


The Vast Majority of Americans
Support the Johnson Amendment

79% of Americans oppose repealing the Johnson Amendment, including 88% of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 71% of Republicans. 

72% of Americans support the Johnson Amendment, including 66% of Trump voters, 78% of Clinton voters, and 77% of independent voters. 

71% of Americans oppose allowing churches and places of worship to endorse political candidates while retaining their tax-exempt status.

62% of Republicans and 56% of white evangelical Christians also oppose allowing churches and places of worship to endorse political candidates while retaining their tax-exempt status.

"Nearly 90 percent of evangelical leaders do not think pastors should endorse politicians from the pulpit."

"Even among the religious groups that are most in favor of church endorsements of candidates – black Protestants and white evangelicals – just 45% of the former and 37% of  the latter say it’s OK for churches to endorse political candidates. And support is lower still among Catholics (28%), the religiously unaffiliated (26%) and white mainline Protestants (21%)."

"Eight in 10 (79 percent) say it is inappropriate for pastors to endorse a candidate in church. Three-quarters say churches should steer clear of endorsements."

"Pew Research Center surveys conducted over the past decade show a steady consensus that churches and other houses of worship should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during elections. Currently, about two-thirds of Americans take this view (66%), while 27% say churches should endorse one candidate over another."

"Two-thirds of the public (66%) say that churches and other houses of worship should not endorse one candidate over another, which is unchanged since 2004 (65%)."

"When asked to respond to the statement, 'I believe it is appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates for public office,' 85 percent disagree including 73 percent who disagree strongly."

52% agree "that churches who publicly endorse candidates for public office should lose their tax exemption."




Key Letters Opposing Repeal or Weakening of the JOhnson AMendment:

Letter From More Than 4,500 Faith Leaders

"As a leader in my religious community, I am strongly opposed to any effort to repeal or weaken current law that protects houses of worship from becoming centers of partisan politics. Changing the law would threaten the integrity and independence of houses of worship. We must not allow our sacred spaces to be transformed into spaces used to endorse or oppose political candidates."

Letter from 5,800 Nonprofit Organizations

"Nonpartisanship is a cornerstone principle that has strengthened the public’s trust of the charitable community. "                         

Letter from 106 Religious & Denominational Organizations

"The charitable sector, particularly houses of worship, should not become another cog in a political machine or another loophole in campaign finance laws."   



November 2017 Letter from 104 Members of Congress

October 2017 Letter from Nearly 100 Members of Congress

"For decades, this policy has shielded our nation's charitable community against the rancor of partisan politics and allowed them to freely address humanitarian, social, and community-specific problems in a nonpartisan manner."


Letters On Specific Legislation

Letters Urging Congress to Keep Language Weakening the Johnson Amendment Out of the Appropriations Process. Read about the House's appropriations bill here.

February 6, 2019 Letter from 131 Charitable and Religious Groups to the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee in Support of the Johnson Amendment

As a new Congress begins, the 131 groups urge the committee chairs to uphold the Johnson Amendment and reject legislation that would compromise the integrity of our nation’s houses of worship and other charitable nonprofits.

December 18, 2018 Letter from 113 Charitable and Religious Groups to the House of Representatives

The 109 undersigned organizations write to strongly oppose the inclusion of any language in H.R. 88, the tax package scheduled to be debated by the House in December, that would repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment.

July 16, 2018 Letter from 145 Charitable and Religious Groups to the House Rules Committee

The 145 undersigned organizations write to urge you to rule in order Wasserman Schultz Amendment #8 and Lewis Amendment #48 to strike the language in Section 112 of the House 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.

June 11, 2018 Letter from 145 Charitable and Religious Groups to the House Appropriations Committee

"This provision would make it effectively impossible for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enforce a long-standing federal law, sometimes referred to as the Johnson Amendment, insofar as it applies to houses of worship."

June 11, 2018 Letter from Americans United to the House Appropriations Committee

"By creating unnecessary hurdles that would slow down and prevent investigations, this provision would essentially cripple enforcement of the Johnson Amendment insofar as it applies to houses of worship." 

November 3, 2017 Letter from 78 Charitable and Religious Groups to the House Ways and Means Committee

"Repealing or weakening the law would allow candidates and political parties to pressure tax-exempt organizations for endorsements, transforming them into tools for their own political gain. It would also fundamentally alter the character of tax-exempt organizations, dividing congregations and communities, eroding the public trust, and turning them into conduits for the flow of secret money."

February 7, 2018 Letter from 145 Charitable and Religious Groups to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees

July 12, 2017 Letter from 108 Charitable and Religious Groups to the House Appropriations Committee

July 12, 2017 Letter from Americans United to the House Appropriations Committee

Faith Leaders Can Now Join This Letter:


Editorials & Op-Eds

Editorials and Op-Eds in Support of Keeping the Johnson Amendment

Editorials & Op-Eds

Editorials and Op-Eds in Support of Keeping the Johnson Amendment



Holland Sentinel - Christine Berghoef, My Take: Clarity Needed on Church, State Separation

San Antonio Express-News - Garrett Vickrey, Don’t Change My Church into a PAC

AL Dot Com - Rev. Terri Byrd, Pews Are Sacred Spaces, Not Partisan Places

The Hill - Sister Margaret Magee and the Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins, Stop Congress from Injecting Partisan Campaign Politics Into America's Houses of Worship

The Washington Post - David Saperstein and Amanda Tyler, Trump Vowed to Destroy the Johnson Amendment. Thankfully, He Has Failed.

Lancaster Online - Richard Christensen, Dropping Johnson Amendment Repeal Was the Right Move

Montana Standard - Al Beaver, Tax Plan Hurts Separation of Church and State

Columbus Underground - Michael Corey, Republican Tax Plan Creates More Need While Limiting Non-Profit Support

Lexington Herald-Leader - Rev. D. Anthony Everette, Pastors Don't Want to Endorse Candidates

Bozeman Daily Chronicle - Liz Moore, Nonprofits Should Serve Communities, Not Candidates

The Fresno Bee - Jan Masaoka, Congressman Nunes, Protect Nonprofits in the Tax Reform Bill

The New York Times - Ellen Aprill, Leave the Johnson Amendment Alone

Worcester Telegram - Jim Klocke, The Threat to All Nonprofits in Proposed Tax Overhaul

The Hill - Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe & Rabbi David Fox Sandmel, Two Faiths, But One Mind on Keeping Politics Out of the Pews

Messenger-Inquirer - Rev. Micah Spicer, Sanctuaries Should Be Houses of Prayer, Not Dens of Partisanship

U.S. News & World Report - Stephen Spaulding, Keep Charities Charitable

Miami HeraldFabiola Santiago, For God's Sake, Republicans! Preaching Politics from Pulpit is an Atrocious Idea

Texas Baptists Life - Ferrell Foster, Why the Johnson Amendment Protects Your Church

Houston Chronicle - Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, Rev. Tommy Williams, Rev. Dr. Steve Wells, Why Churches Shouldn't Endorse Political Candidates

The Daily Astorian - Rev. Bill Van Nostran, Johnson Amendment is Worth Saving

Arkansas Democrat & GazetteStephanie Ellis and Megan J. Pike, Leave Law as It Is

The Des Moines Register - Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, Why 4,000 Church Leaders Want to Keep Politics Out of the Pulpit

The Herald-Sun - Jennifer Copeland, Protect Johnson Amendment

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - Rev. Stephen Copley, Keep It Separation: Pulpit No Place for Partisanship 

The Hill - Karen Gano & Tim Delaney, Congress, Defend the Common Law and Common Sense of Nonpartisanship

The Huffington Post - Rev. Timothy McDonald, Destroying the Johnson Amendment Helps Special Interests, Not Churches

The Houston Chronicle - Rev. Scott Moore, Protect the Johnson Amendment

The Dallas Morning News -  Rev. George Mason & Rabbi David Stern, A Repeal of the Johnson Amendment Would Sadly Bring Politics into Houses of Worship

The Bangor Daily News - Tiffany Muller,  Repealing the Johnson Amendment Would Turn Churches into Super PACs

MinnPost - Kristi Rendahl, Why Congress Shouldn't Repeal or Weaken the Johnson Amendment

The Hagerstown Herald-Mail - Rev. Don Stevenson, The Political Pulpit

The Forward - Rabbi Jack Moline, Ban on Partisan Pulpits Is Key to Protecting Religious Freedom

The New Hampshire Union Leader - Kathleen Reardon, NH Nonprofits Should Remain Nonpartisan

The Bismarck Tribune - Dana Schaar Jahne & Kevin Dvorak, Keep Nonprofits Nonpartisan

National Catholic Reporter Pat Perriello, Johnson Amendment Did Churches a Favor

AL Dot Com - Rev. Robert Wilkerson, Politics and Churches Are Best Left Separate

Crux - Father Matthew Schneider, Churches Shouldn’t Endorse Candidates, Even If the Law Allowed

The News and Observer - Richard M. Clerkin, Repealing the Johnson Amendment Could Lead to Reduced Donations to Churches and Charities

The Wichita Eagle - Davis Merritt, Religion As a Cover for Dark Money

The Atlantic - Rabbi David Wolpe, A Rabbi Defends the Johnson Amendment

Newsweek - Philip Hackney & Betty M. Phillips, Trump May Upend Nonprofits With Vow to "Destroy" Johnson Amendment

The Houston Chronicle - Randall Balmer, Religion Flourishes in the United States Because We Keep It Separate from Government

U.S. News & World Report - Alan Brownstein, Congressional Caution Is Needed

The Winston-Salem Journal - Rev. Charles Francis Wilson, President Trump's Threat to Religious Freedom

Cleveland Jewish News - Rabbi Steven L. Denker, A Primer on the Johnson Amendment

Religion News Service - Amanda Tyler, Politicize Our Charities and Churches? No, Thanks

The Washington Post - Ellen Aprill, Trump Wants to Force You – the Taxpayer – to Pay for Campaigning from the Pulpit

U.S. News & World Report - Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Prevent Pulpit Politicking

The Los Angeles Times - Randall Balmer, Don't Listen to the Complainers on the Religious Right. We Need the Johnson Amendment

New York Times - Steven Waldman, How Trump Would Corrupt the Pulpit

Time Magazine - Rabbi David Wolpe, Why Religious Leaders Should Not Endorse Candidates


The Island Packet - Rabbi Brad L. Bloom, Faith in Action: How Donald Trump Is Putting Clergy in a Difficult Position

Heritage Fellowship - Rev. Matt Sapp, The Johnson Amendment and the Christian Voice in the Public Sphere

The Missoulian - Rev. Jean Larson, Community of Faith: On Religious Liberty and the Johnson Amendment

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - Karris Golden, Line Between Churches, Politics Necessary

U.S. News & World Report Roger Colinvaux, Keep Dark Money Out of Charity

The Chicago Tribune - Cal Thomas, Be Careful What You Wish For

The Rexburg Standard Journal - Matthew Whoolery, Why We Need the Johnson Amendment