Trump to sign order lifting ban on political activity by churches

By REUTERS
May 4, 2017 01:33
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
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WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is expected to take executive action on Thursday to effectively lift a ban on political activity by churches and other tax-exempt institutions, a senior White House official said on Wednesday.

Trump will mark the National Day of Prayer by issuing guidance to federal agencies like the Treasury Department on how to interpret a 1954 law known as the Johnson Amendment that prohibits churches, charities and educational institutions from participating in political campaigns.

Trump frequently complained about the amendment during his campaign for the presidency, bolstering his support among religious conservatives who contend it violates free speech and religious freedom rights.

The Treasury Department has the power to withdraw tax-exempt status for religious organizations, and the order is expected to give the department guidance on how to enforce the law, the White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as details of the guidance were still being worked out.

Changing the law altogether would require action in the Republican-led US Congress.

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