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Preserving the barrier between church and state

February 9, 2017Article
The Jewish Journal

Lyndon Baines Johnson is undoubtedly rolling over in his grave. For more than six decades — with bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic presidents and members of Congress — a landmark law has stood as a bulwark against using public funds to breach the wall separating church and state. The so-called Johnson Amendment — authored by LBJ during his Senate tenure (but passed by a Republican-majority Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower) — prevents all tax-exempt entities, including religious organizations, from directly or indirectly participating in any political campaigns on behalf of, or opposed to, any candidate. At the risk of losing this tax-exempt status, the Johnson Amendment expressly forbids all rabbis, ministers and imams from using their pulpits as partisan political platforms.

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