The Wearing of the Muzzle

From this week’s “Wisconsin Family Connection,” Wisconsin Family Council’s weekly commentary~

I call it the muzzle.  Some call it the Johnson Amendment. It’s that IRS rule that restricts churches and pastors from endorsing or opposing a candidate or a party. 

Did you know the church didn’t wear this muzzle until 1954?  In 1954, Texas Democrat Lyndon Johnson was facing re-election to the US Senate.  Two not-for-profit anti-Communist groups were attacking Johnson’s liberal agenda.  Johnson retaliated with the force of an incumbent.  He inserted language into the IRS code that prohibits not-for-profit organizations, which includes churches, from endorsing or opposing candidates running for political offices.  Congress went along with the idea, in spite of the fact that many believed and still believe this prohibition violates the First Amendment.

Whether or not Johnson intended for all churches in America to be affected by his “muzzle” is not clear.  Nevertheless, intended or not, the muzzle was slapped on America’s churches, too.  And it’s remained firmly in place since then—and we know the rest of the story.  Johnson eventually becomes president of the United States and the churches remain sidelined and silenced in some of the most important issues of our day.

Read the full transcript
Listen to the mp3 audio

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One comment on “The Wearing of the Muzzle

  1. Brad says:

    This “muzzle” is in violation of the first amendment. It always was in violation of the first amendment. It never should have been allowed in whatever bill it was “inserted” into. It should be rejected out of hand today, but it won’t be. Why? For the same reason it wasn’t rejected in 1954, “political considerations”. They new exactly what they were doing in 1954. This garbage didn’t sneak up on anyone. It passed because the Senate and House were both in the hands of the democrat party, and President Eisenhower had to swallow it, in order to pass the bill it was part of. Now, there is something else that needs to be said, and here it is. Churches don’t need 501-C3 status in order to remain tax exempt. Pay attention, Christians. Churches are tax exempt because they are Churches, whether they have 501-C3 status or not. Now, here is something else that also needs to be said. Even if you were to lose your “tax exempt” status, SO WHAT? What does a “Church” exist for anyway, to retain it’s tax exemption, or to preach the truth, including the Gospel? If a “Church” is really an authentic, Bible believing(the whole Bible) Church, it should be laughing when it is threatened with the loss of their tax exemption, and just continue to tell the truth, preach the Gospel, and yes, ENDORSE POLITICAL CANDIDATES of as Biblical mindset as the Church can find, who has a good chance of winning. By the way, there are “Churches” who do endorse political candidates, but that is not reported by the press or complained about by groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Why? Because these “Churches” endorse LIBERALS in general, and DEMOCRATS in particular. The first century Church shed their blood because they refused to stop telling the truth and preaching the Gospel. Churches today, have to ask themselves if they are really authentic Churches or not.

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