Though many evangelical Christians can certainly find a number of reasons to dislike or withhold their support from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, there is at least one good reason why they should consider supporting him.
In fact, many evangelical Christians have thrown their support behind Trump for the simple fact that he has called for the repeal of a decades-old law that prohibits churches from openly endorsing or opposing political candidates, according to The Washington Times.
That law would be the 1950’s-era Johnson Amendment, named after then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, which threatened to have the IRS pull the tax-exempt status of any church that took an overtly public stand on a political candidate or issue.
“If I get elected president, one of the early things, one of the absolute first things I’m going to do is work on totally knocking out the Johnson Amendment,” Trump promised a gathering of Christian leaders in Orlando, Florida, recently.
As one can imagine, the law proposed and passed by liberals has been utilized by liberal administrations over the years as a tool to keep more conservative-leaning churches quiet on political matters while looking the other way when liberal churches routinely do what the law expressly prohibits.
In fact, a recent Pew poll of churchgoers found nearly 15 percent admitted hearing explicitly political messages from the pulpit, either for or against a political candidate. That number was quite a bit higher among mostly liberal, predominately black churches.
Virginia Bishop E.W. Jackson pointed out the clear hypocrisy and double standard in how the law is applied forcefully toward more conservative churches and hardly at all with liberal black churches.
“Are we kidding ourselves? Is the IRS going to go after a black church for having endorsed President Obama?” Jackson asked rhetorically.
“There needs to be a new climate set for First Amendment rights and the exercise of those rights and that Donald Trump is setting, in our view, the right climate, so it’s very encouraging,” Jackson added.
Trump’s opposition to the Johnson Amendment could help strengthen the support he has already been receiving from evangelical voters, a notion pointed out by Ken Blackwell, senior fellow at the Family Research Council.
“He doesn’t try to come off as an evangelical himself, but as he did in Orlando, he speaks to the public policy issues, whether you’re talking about pro-life issues, religious liberty issues, the Supreme Court or the Johnson Amendment, that are very important to evangelicals,” Blackwell explained.
To be sure, Trump could still struggle to convince some evangelicals to support his candidacy and vote for him, a problem that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney also had that could very well have cost him the election as many refused to cast a vote for him.
“He can’t leave as many on the sidelines, as Romney did,” Blackwell noted. “I think right now he is probably on par with Mitt Romney. That’s not good enough.”
Trump most certainly needs the support of evangelicals to defeat the Democrat Party, liberal media and Clinton machine in November, and his strong opposition to the Johnson Amendment that has effectively silenced the political speech of too many conservative churches should help in that goal.
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