FILE- In this Oct. 30, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands during a service at the International Church of Las Vegas in Las Vegas. President Trump’s pledge to scrap limits on church political activity could have sweeping effects that extend beyond his conservative supporters to more liberal congregations, including the black evangelical church that has long helped anchor the Democratic Party’s electoral machinery. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) (AP)

Trump's idea to scrap the Johnson amendment has wide reach, beyond GOP base

President Trump's proposal could impact the black community

Bill Barrow
February 7, 2017 5:21PM (UTC)

ATLANTA — Republican President Donald Trump wants to relax restrictions on the political activity of churches.

It's a nod to the many evangelicals who helped elect him. But the idea could reach across the political spectrum and affect black evangelicals who align mostly with Democrats.


Current law doesn't prevent churches from all political activity. But the law called the "Johnson amendment" has since 1954 blocked churches and their leaders from making official endorsements and political contributions.

Some prominent black pastors say they like the law the way it is. They express concerns that donors could try to purchase endorsements and funnel money for political campaigns through churches.

Some of Trump's backers say they want only to give pastors the freedom to take strong positions without fear of the IRS stripping their tax-exempt status.

Bill Barrow

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