Last year, thousands of nonprofit and religious leaders joined together to protect the purple places in our communities that bring red and blue citizens together: charitable organizations. (Hat tip to Stephen Cook, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church, for using the phrase “purple places” in an editorial last year.) Together, we successfully fended off an attempt in tax reform to weaken the law, called the Johnson Amendment, which protects charities and houses of worship from partisan political pressure. Unfortunately, the fight continues.
After a government shutdown and issues like military funding and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program hanging in the balance, Congress is highly motivated to finalize and pass a large bill to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year before February 8.
A small, but vocal group of policymakers actively are pushing to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment through this Appropriations bill. If they succeed, our communities will lose their ability to fend off the pressures to divide into red and blue “teams.” Our congregations, soup kitchens, childcare centers, hospitals, and universities will be pressured to choose a side, inevitably alienating some of their valued donors, volunteers, board members, or constituents.
Join Us Today
There is good news! We know that when we unite together, we get policymakers’ attention. Let’s join together to make sure Congress understands that our organizations and the communities that we serve want us to preserve the laws that help keep us the valued spaces where everyone is welcome to come together to worship, solve problems, and express themselves. Let’s keep charities purple.
The time to act is now and taking action is easy:
- National Organizations – Please consider signing on to this letter addressed to Congressional Appropriators, which says we strongly oppose “any attempts to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment” in FY 2018 funding bills. The deadline for signing-on to the letter is COB today, but they will continue to accept signers over the next several days.
- State and Local Organizations – Tell your Members of Congress to preserve purple places by opposing any effort to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment.