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.

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Trump: Founders’ actions show— “We don’t worship government.  We worship God.”

And above all else, we know this:  In America, we don’t worship government.  We worship God.  (Applause.)  Right?  We worship God.  (Applause.)

Thank you. Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Don’t worry, we’re not going to let them change it. (Laughter and applause.) You see what goes on nowadays, right?

Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words: “In God We Trust.” And we proudly proclaim that we are “One Nation Under God,” every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Spicer: “No President Has Ever Visited the Homelands and Holy Sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslims Faiths All on One Trip”

This trip is truly historic.  No President has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslims faiths all on one trip.  And what President Trump is seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress, and prosperity.  He will bring a message of tolerance and of hope to billions, including to millions of Americans who profess these faiths.  The President will focus on what unites us.

— Press Secretary Sean Spicer

Press Briefing, May 12, 2017

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Donald Trump: As Jefferson Wrote, Liberty Is a “Gift of God”

The religious liberty guaranteed by the Constitution is not a favor from the government, but a natural right bestowed by God.  Our Constitution and our laws that protect religious freedom merely recognize the right that all people have by virtue of their humanity.  As Thomas Jefferson wisely questioned:  “can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Executive Order: America’s Founders Wanted Religious Voices in the Public Square

It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.  The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government.  For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans’ first freedom.  Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government.  The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections.

Sarah Sanders: Johnson Amendment Akin to Silencing Martin Luther King

Look, I think it’s very hard to argue that a pastor or another faith leader shouldn’t be able to speak out about morality in the public square.  I think that it would be almost like Martin Luther King, Jr. shouldn’t have been allowed to speak out against George Wallace.  I don’t think anybody in this room would argue that that would be an appropriate thing to do, and that is what the Johnson Amendment currently does.  And we see this as a hurdle to freedom of speech, and certainly something that should be protected.

—Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

Press Gaggle, May 4, 2017

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