On Aug. 11 in Orlando, Florida, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump promised a group of evangelical pastors that church attendance would increase if he is elected (video below).
Trump made his campaign promise during an appearance at an event sponsored by the American Renewal Project, reports RightWingWatch.org.
"You’ve been silenced like a child has been silenced," Trump said. "Strong, brilliant, great people that want to do the right thing. We're not talking about bad people, we're talking about great people."
Later in his speech, Trump told the pastors that their power and voice had been taken away, but he promised to terminate the Johnson Amendment from 1954 to get the pastors their power back.
The Washington Post reports that the Johnson Amendment bans tax-exempt charitable groups that are classified as 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes churches "from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."
There is never any mention in the Bible that churches are supposed to get involved in political campaigns, but evangelical conservative Christians have long-wanted the Johnson Amendment repealed so they can openly push for candidates without worrying about losing their tax exemption (also not mentioned in the Bible).
Back in Orlando, Trump told the pastors that he was going to increase church attendance:
I mean Christianity, when you think of what’s happening, you look at the numbers, I talk about Sunday School and people don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore. It’s true, they don’t know what I’m talking about. When you look, instead of going this way (motions downward), you're going to be going this way (motions upward).
You might be going this way (motions downward), but you're going to be going (motions upward). We're going to bring it back because it’s a good thing, it’s a good thing. They treated it like it’s a bad thing, but it’s a great thing, not a good thing, it’s a great thing.
During another part of his speech, Trump appealed to the "silenced" pastors, who supposedly had their power taken away, to help him get elected, reports RightWingWatch.org (video below).