Churches can endorse a candidate if they want. But if they do, they lose their tax exemption. The issue, boiled down, is that houses of worship cannot both endorse or oppose a particular political candidate and receive a tax exemption from the government.
Religious politicking is a flat-out bad idea for a number of reasons. Making this change would dramatically impact our campaign finance system – houses of worship are tax exempt because they are supposed to be charitable, not political. For this reason, contributions made to them are tax deductible while political donations are not. Furthermore, the American people don’t want this change. A 2008 poll showed that 85 percent of Americans do not believe it is “appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates for public office,” and 75 percent think it is not “appropriate for churches to publicly endorse candidates for public office.”
Beyond public opinion, houses of worship should not receive special treatment. The bill would carve out political privileges for churches and other non-profit organizations – this drive to create an uneven playing field in not just unfair, but raises serious constitutional questions as well.
The bill has failed time and time again as it surely will this time around, and yet Rep. Jones refuses to quit. This effort to unfairly change IRS code is misguided, bad for government, and bad for religion.
You can read more extensive coverage of why the repeal of the Johnson Amendment would be bad policy here.