Most major presidential candidates who have been successful have been strong proponents of upholding the principles of the constitution, at least rhetorically. This is something that America was founded upon and is something that citizens value and politicians realize this and speak the language that appeals to the majority of Americans. An important class that Republican nominee Donald Trump has been trying to garner the support of is the Evangelical group, hence his meeting with over 500 evangelical pastors and leaders and his promises to listen to their concerns. Trying to appeal to this highly influential group can be problematic as advocating issues important to evangelicals often means a unification of church and state, which would bring a candidate in opposition to the constitution. Donald Trump is willing to take that risk and has flattered this class and has spoken their language and promised to use his position, if elected to advocate their causes and be a voice for them, essentially, allowing them to insert their policies into the political equation.
His words to the evangelical community delivered at the end of his convention speech are very telling and reveal just how far he will go in order to acquire and maintain their support: “At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community in general who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.”…This wasn’t the first time you heard him mention the ‘Johnson Amendment.’ In his truly bizarre remarks last weekend introducing Mike Pence as his running mate, Trump said, ‘We call it the Johnson amendment, where you are just absolutely shunned if you’re evangelical, if you want to talk religion, you lose your tax-exempt status.’”
Without going into the intricacies of the law referred to by Donald Trump and other Republicans as the Johnson Amendment, it is sufficient to mention that the law created in 1954 under the leadership of then- Senator Lyndon Johnson prohibits tax-exempt churches from intervening in partisan political campaigns, including publicly endorsing or criticizing candidates from the pulpit or using its platform to aid or damage candidates. For many, the repealing of such a law probably seems pro-freedom of speech and a good thing to do. However, candidates, Republicans particularly, realize their need of the religious right in their political advancement and future and would like to make them a permanent fixture in the political process, thus solidifying the union between church and state.
So while fighting to protect free speech for pastors of government-run houses of worship (tax-exempt churches), the rights of other citizens will be restricted and denied as the religious right begins to dictate to politicians to enforce her decrees and sustain her institutions, namely government-mandated Sunday observance. Furthermore, if aiding or hurting a particular candidate using the platform of the church were so important, such churches should renounce their tax-exempt statuses; but of course most are not willing to do that. This is not an issue of a violation of freedom of speech for pastors and religious leaders simply because they have the ability and option to engage in partisan politics, endorse political candidates and work in campaigns, only not while holding on to their tax-exemptions.
Could it be that the religious right, the evangelical class, are dictating to Mr. Trump to advocate the repealing of this law? Already, if he is allowing religionists to dictate to him in matters of politics, it reveals that he is owned by this class and in exchange for their allegiance he would continue to adhere to their every demand and shape policy and law based on the “Christian” philosophy that they advocate. The evangelicals want this law repealed so that they can create a religious-based political system wherein politicians simply carry out the dictates of the church, a Roman Catholic setup—an image to the beast.
Based on history and Bible prophecy, such a system will exist regardless of who or what party occupies the oval office and will be the development that brings about the National Sunday Law.
“The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 12:17.”
2. White, Ellen. The Great Controversy (1911), page 592