ADF: Free Speech Fairness Act is legally sound, needed

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erik Stanley regarding the Free Speech Fairness Act, a bill that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Rep. Jody Hice, R- Ga., introduced in the House on Wednesday that would restrict enforcement of the Johnson Amendment against churches and other non-profit groups for whom the law was never intended:

“The IRS has no business acting as the speech police of any non-profit organization, as its many scandals over recent years have made clear. This bill corrects an unconstitutional restriction put in place in 1954 that was never intended to affect churches and other non-profit groups but has been used to intimidate them ever since. By removing the threat of an IRS investigation and potential penalties based simply, for example, on what a pastor says from the pulpit, this bill brings the law into conformity with the First Amendment. No tax exemption can be based on a requirement that a church or any other non-profit organization give up a constitutionally protected freedom, including free speech. With regard to churches, they can decide for themselves what they should or shouldn’t say from the pulpit. Americans don’t need the IRS to be the referee.”

ADF has been actively seeking to end the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment against churches through its Pulpit Freedom Sunday effort since 2008.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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