That Pesky Johnson Amendment Strikes Again

This time for the Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris’ video for African-American churches:

Democratic leaders have pulled out the stops to try to help Terry McAuliffe in his struggling campaign for governor in Virginia. Figures from Barack Obama to Stacey Abrams have stumped for McAuliffe who is in a tight race with businessman Glenn Youngkin. The key for McAuliffe is black voters, and to spur turnout Vice President Kamala Harris has taped an endorsement of McAuliffe that is reportedly being played at hundreds of African American churches around the state. The problem is the “Johnson Amendment” makes such political pitches in churches a violation of federal law.

I was (and am) unenthusiastic about repealing the Johnson Amendment, as was the hue and cry from many white evangelicals during the Trump years:

I think that political activity needs to be the province of the laity.  And I’ve heard Christian politicians show a stronger grasp on what the Gospel is all about than ministers about political issues.  To put our ministers in the “driver’s seat” of political activity is to cede yet another function of the laity, reducing the latter to passive consumers of the church’s product.  And we have enough of that unBiblical kind of thing going on as it is.

As I said at the start, freedom is something that needs to be used wisely.  If you get it, be careful: you may end up losing it all if you blow it.

Although I am aware of the role that African-American churches have played in the civil rights movement, if things like this make political activity in churches de facto or de jure acceptable, it may have this effect for everyone:

The danger of the right is the same as Harry Reid’s doing away with the super-majority filibuster for nominees: if the political wind reverses, you’ve given yourself the shaft. In both cases the reality of the Gospel is obscured by our desires of the moment.

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