Rep. Jody Hice: Johnson Amendment created “behind closed doors…without any debate”

Jody HiceI think by this time most people are familiar, at least they have heard about the Johnson amendment. It came about in 1954, when Lyndon Johnson barely won a race for Senate because many people thought he was soft on communism. So one of the first things he did when he got here was, behind closed doors, without any vetting, without any debate, had inserted into the IRS Code a statement that basically says that nonprofits cannot address political issues, or they could potentially lose their tax-exempt status.

That now, for 60 years-plus, has become a target for pastors, for churches, for nonprofits using tax-exempt status as leverage to prevent them from speaking, addressing political issues. It is political correctness at its worst.

When our government becomes the gatekeeper of free speech, then we actually have no free speech at all. And in this process, they also are influencing what religious institutions can and cannot be.

Our Founders believed that our country should not establish a State church. They also believe that government should not dictate the religious practices of its citizens, or abridge the free speech of Houses of worship. That is what is taking place.

—Rep. Jody Hice (R–GA)

On the Free Speech Fairness Act, House Floor, June 13, 2017

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