Jason Hines is Associate Editor for ReligiousLiberty.TV an independent religious liberty website. A Harvard Law graduate, Jason practiced commercial litigation in Philadelphia for five years and conducted seminars on religious liberty in his spare time. This gave him the opportunity to discuss issues of religious freedom with Adventists in churches all over the United States. In 2008, Jason decided to devote his life to work in religious liberty. To that end, he enrolled at the Seminary at Andrews University, where he is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Religion. He is also a PhD candidate in the Religion, Politics, and Society at the J.M. Dawson Institute for Church-State Studies at Baylor University. Jason blogs about religious liberty and other religious issues at thehinesight.blogspot.com.
The Johnson Amendment does not ban churches from endorsing political candidates. Neither does it in any way criminalize or punish churches that endorse political candidates. The Johnson Amendment is a part of Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code, which establishes that charitable organizations are exempt from taxation. The amendment, therefore, is a limit on that benefit.
Churches, especially Christian ones, should be able to do that on their own. In this case, we have an example of a church that was not able to do that. The state then had no other choice but to step in and protect the rights of its citizens.
The Court’s defense of this type of religious speech is a victory for every religious institution. If the Court will protect Westboro, then surely the Court is willing to protect all of us.
Why Indiana became a flash point for religious liberty.