Rep. Johnson Acts to Protect Freedom of Religion and Speech
Washington, DC, February 2, 2017
On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04) co-introduced H.R. 781, the Free Speech and Fairness Act in the 115th U.S. Congress. This legislation repeals the Johnson Amendment, which altered the Internal Revenue Code in 1954 to restrict the free speech of churches and nonprofit entities. H.R. 781 will restore free speech and religious liberty to churches and other nonprofits by allowing their leaders to speak openly about the important moral, social and political issues of the day without fear of losing their tax exempt status.
Rep. Johnson, a constitutional law attorney who has defended religious liberty in courtrooms for nearly 20 years, released the following statement:
“Two of our most sacred and unalienable rights protected by the Constitution are the right to religious freedom and the right to speak freely without fear of prosecution. The Johnson Amendment infringes upon both of these by subjecting churches and non-profits to IRS investigation and censorship depending on what they say. The fact that this amendment has been in effect for more than 60 years is ludicrous. America's pastors should not be silenced, but afforded every opportunity to spread their message. Simply put, the Johnson Amendment goes against our nation’s core principles and should be repealed immediately. I am delighted to so-sponsor the historic legislation that will unleash the voice of the church once again."