State Church Separation – a discussion with Rev. Rhonda Blevins

Rhonda Blevins

Pastor, Chapel by the Sea

Pastor Rhonda Blevins explains why atheists and many believers agree on the need for the Johnson amendment to be retained.

What is the Johnson amendment?

Paragraph (3) of subsection (c) within section 501 of Title 26 (Internal Revenue Code) of the U.S. Code (U.S.C.) describes organizations which may be exempt from U.S. Federal income tax. 501(c)(3) is written as follows:

(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
The Johnson Amendment is the bolded portion of this provision beginning with the words “and which does not participate in, or intervene in [ . . . ].”[4] The amendment affects nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exemptions,[5] which are subject to absolute prohibitions on engaging in political activities and risk loss of tax-exempt status if violated.

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