There is a never-ending effort to silence the Christian voice in this country. Lately it has ranged from forcing Christian businesses to violate their beliefs or go out of business to forcing woman and girls to just be quiet and “tolerate” men using their restrooms and locker rooms (or vice versa). However, a much earlier version of this muzzling started with the Johnson amendment of 1954.
The Johnson Amendment was passed because Senator Johnson was upset at all the criticism he was receiving and figured the best way to quiet the opposition was to use the IRS code as the enforcer. Therefore, tax exempt organizations (i.e. churches) are prohibited from engaging in political activities and risk loss of tax-exempt status if violated. I guess he never read the Constitution or heard of the First Amendment.
However, how many people know that the clergy were absolutely vital in the fight against the British during American Revolution? They had NO fear in preaching from the pulpit about the political issues of the day and rallying people in the fight for independence. In fact, the “Black Robed Regiment” is the name that the British gave to the Clergy during the American struggle for independence.
Pastor John Gabriel Muhlenberg is one of the most famous clergy during the American Revolution and was one of George Washington’s most trusted officers. A statue honoring him is in the Statuary Hall of our nation’s Capitol. He is in military uniform with a sword in one hand and clerical robe draped over the other arm.
Fast forward to the present day. President Trump recently issued an Executive Order that “Directs the IRS to exercise maxim enforcement of the discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment which prohibits religious leaders from speaking about politics and candidates from the pulpit.”
This Executive Order is long overdue. For too long God has been forced from the political scene because “you don’t mix politics and religion.” Hogwash. This country is in the mess it is partly because, in the absence of leadership from the pulpit, people lost their moral compass and did not realize the dire consequences of electing godless men and women to political office.
So many Christians in this country are craving the spiritual leadership to help reverse the moral and political decline this country is experiencing. I pray that the clergy will take full advantage of their opportunity.
-Pamela Jaffke, Owen, WI