In all the hoopla about how lousy Trump is, a small item rather escaped me:
Why have some religious conservatives decided to support Donald Trump for United States president? Leaders have named their reasons: He’s promised to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices; he’s allegedly good at business. But they have also consistently cited something else, perhaps more unexpected: the tax code.
Trump has promised to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment, a 1954 provision that prohibits tax-exempt organizations from participating in political activities. Proposed by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and later revised by Congress, it keeps churches and other non-profits from lobbying for specific causes, campaigning on behalf of politicians, and supporting or opposing candidates for office…
In case you ever wondered why no one in politics really pays much attention to what religious leaders say, there’s your reason: money. You might note that unions and various leftwing political groups – some of which are tax exempt – are free to pour money into political campaigns to their heart’s content…but religious groups can’t. This is why, at election time, the concerns of religious people are very much a secondary consideration…why what the union or the corporate PAC wants is paramount; you risk campaign money if you cross a union or a corporate PAC, you don’t risk money if you cross a religion. Repealing the Johnson Amendment would put religious people on the same level as everyone else. And, so, yes: it has to go.
I freely admit that I hadn’t heard of this until maybe a couple years ago – but now that it is brought to mind, I realize that part of the reason that we are ratcheted ever leftwards on social issues is because the prime source of Conservative power on social issues – the Church, the various Protestant denominations, etc – are essentially prohibited from engaging in the battle. It isn’t that there’s no one willing to fight the battle, but there is no one writing a check which makes politicians actually beholden to religious groups (and thus we see so-called Conservative politicians ever finding reasons to leave religious people in the lurch when push comes to shove). Allow religious money to enter the fray, and politicians will serve that money, even if they don’t want to serve the dogmas.
Rather crude, I know – but democratic politics is like that…and it is time for religious people to gain the power to really influence politics.