Can religious freedom coexist with political freedom in our current climate?
In the US the organizations that do not pay income taxes do not have the right to advocate for a candidate or party. The tax code states that organizations such as churches, universities and small foundations "are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaigns behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,"
In 1954 there was an amendment to the United States Tax Code, known as the Johnson amendment since it was proposed by then Senator Lyndon Johnson, that contained the above phrase. It was not designed to suppress religion.
It was designed to keep entities that were not paying taxes from being used for hidden money flows to political campaigns or to politicians. And it was designed to protect the Separation of Church and State.
Churches are not prohibited from discussing issues, from publishing guidelines of who represents what side of which issues. The prohibition is on endorsing a politician or a political party. In the 1960s many Churches were the sources of
civil action and civil protest. Pastors were not jailed for speaking their conscience. Today there are still Churches active in their communities, and Pastors who speak out. Only one of the more than 2,000 Pastors who have chosen to defy the law has been audited, and that one was not punished.
"Unscrupulous and evil men and groups can usurp the power of government and use it to their own ends." L. Ron Hubbard.
This amendment was not controversial in 1954. It passed with no discussion at all.