For Immediate Release
January 23, 2017
Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102
American Pastors Network Prays Trump Will Stay Committed to Repealing Johnson Amendment
Pastors Must Be Free to Speak Truth About Social Issues from Pulpit
PHILADELPHIA—Christian evangelical voters were key in electing newly inaugurated President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Among the reasons for their votes were the promises Trump and Pence made to the faithful on the campaign trail and the support they showed to pastors and churches.
One of those commitments was to peel back the Johnson Amendment, which for more than 60 years has restricted the free speech of pastors and churches, says the American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net).
Stated Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, “An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.” According to the Daily Caller, he echoed that sentiment at the Value Voters Summit in September: “We’re going to get rid of that law … we’re going to get rid of it so fast.”
“Pastors are charged by God to always speak biblical truth from the pulpit,” said APN president Sam Rohrer. “From abortion and marriage to tyranny in office, the Bible is very clear on social, cultural and political issues. Efforts by government to intimidate pastors on preaching biblical truth not only violate God’s direct command but are also unconstitutional. We encourage pastors to stand up for truth by continuing to urge President Trump and Vice President Pence to make good on their commitment to repeal the Johnson Amendment.”
Proposed by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and passed by Congress in 1954, the law prohibits tax-exempt organizations—including churches and other nonprofits—from lobbying elected officials, campaigning on behalf of a political party, and supporting or opposing candidates for office. Reports the Daily Caller, “Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code bestows tax-exempt status upon nonprofit groups as long as they don’t ‘participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for office.’ (The ‘in opposition to’ clause was added in 1986.)”
So, for example, a church opposed to abortion is prohibited from explicitly supporting a pro-life candidate running for Congress.
Research from the American Culture & Faith Institute has found that while 90 percent of pastors believe the Bible has much to say about today’s pressing political and societal issues, less than 10 percent are talking about those issues from the pulpit. Rohrer noted that many pastors fear losing their church’s 501(c)(3) status and, therefore, avoid preaching on political issues.
“Churches, by their very nature, operate under God’s jurisdiction and as such have historically been tax-exempt,” Rohrer said. “They predated the IRS and any another-man made provision such as incorporation or 501(c)(3) status, and these rights remain inviolate. When it comes to preaching the truth of God’s Word, the pastor’s obligation is to God, not government. This chance to repeal the Johnson Amendment is an ideal opportunity for pastors across this nation to reaffirm their biblical duty and constitutional rights.”
APN recently launched the new “We Will Stand” initiative to help mobilize and encourage pastors to preach biblical truth to all issues, as well as unite pastors in their calling to stand boldly for truth. The “We Will Stand—Preach, Pray, Encourage, Engage” pledge urges pastors to preach passionately, pray fervently, encourage their congregations and engage as a minister together with civic leaders.
The American Pastors Network is the first and largest national network of Bible-believing pastors committed to teaching and applying biblical principles as the moral compass and source of truth for all matters of life. APN’s mission, which will be carried out through the “We Will Stand” initiative, includes: to identify, encourage, equip, educate and network pastors and church members to “Stand in the Gap for Truth”; to be a voice for truth and an advocate for pastors in the public square by providing Bible-based and constitutionally consistent analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy; and to strengthen the biblical relationship between pastors and elected officials, through various private and public meetings for prayer, study and policy discussion.
The American Pastors Network brings listeners the daily one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” which airs on 425 stations nationwide, as well as “Stand in the Gap Minute” and “Stand in the Gap Weekend.” For more information on the entire lineup of APN radio programming, visit www.StandintheGapRadio.com.
APN offers pastors numerous online resources that help clergy choose sermon topics and find information for other church ministries. With some free and some paid resources, topics include abortion, apologetics, creation, the cultural crisis, economics, education, the environment, history, homosexuality, Islam and marriage, along with many others.
The American Pastors Network is the largest, national network of pastors who believe in the authority of scripture; who boldly preach the whole counsel of God with a disciplined application of a biblical worldview to public policy; who are building a permanent infrastructure of biblically faithful pastors and lay leaders; and who are mobilizing congregations to participate in the political process on a non-partisan basis. For information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. Those interested in forming a chapter in their state may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Pastors Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian Public Community Foundation registered nationwide). APN’s daily short radio feature, “Stand in the Gap Minute,” airs on approximately 290 stations, “Stand in the Gap Weekend” airs on nearly 180 stations and the live one-hour show, “Stand in the Gap Today,” airs on about 425 stations nationwide.
To interview a representative from the American Pastors Network, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.