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

“Americans don’t need a federal tax agency to be the speech police of churches or any other non-profit groups, who have a constitutionally protected freedom to decide for themselves what they want to say or not say. 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. It fixes a restriction enacted in 1954 that was never intended to affect churches and other non-profit groups but has been used to intimidate them ever since. The government can’t base any tax exemption on a requirement that a church or any other non-profit organization surrender a constitutionally protected freedom, including free speech.”

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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