A brief outline of America’s top religious liberty issues in 2017.
Archives for December 2017
As part of the final push to enact tax reform before the end of the year, a proposed tax code change that would permit churches and other non-profit organizations to engage in partisan political campaigning has been dropped from the House and Senate reconciliation version of 2017 tax bill. Although the House version of the bill had included a repeal of the controversial Johnson Amendment, the Senate version kept it intact. Proponents of the repeal have argued for the right of pastors to speak freely about candidates from the pulpit, and opponents claim it would provide a “dark money” tax-exempt way to launder otherwise non-tax deductible campaign donations.
Whatever position one takes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the issue is personal and not mandated by any Scripture except in that we are admonished to be peacemakers.
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate passed its version of a major tax bill. Although there are a number of indirect ramifications for religious institutions, the Senate bill keeps the Johnson Amendment intact.
Next Tuesday, December 5, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a difficult case that pits the free exercise of religion and free speech rights of a wedding cake maker against the anti-discrimination rights of a same-sex couple. The couple demands the cake; the baker refuses because he thinks he will be sinning. The question is – can the state of Colorado make him bake the cake?