The Johnson Amendment, as the excellent Feb. 3 front-page article “President targets church-state law,” pointed out, is an integral part of section 501(c)(3), which defines public charities, including churches. Although the focus of President Trump’s rhetoric is on churches, any removal of the ban would presumably also allow all public charities to engage in political activity. This would inevitably further divide our country and provide taxpayer-subsidized funds to political candidates, since donations to such organizations are deductible.
Churches are almost never audited by the Internal Revenue Service, partially because of the onerous procedures in section 7611 of the tax code. Thus, realistically, there isn’t much stopping churches from engaging in political activity now.
This appears to be another publicity stunt by Mr. Trump to curry favor with the religious, conservative Americans who worked hard to put him in office. The separation of church and state has never been more important.
Nancy Ortmeyer Kuhn, Bethesda
The writer, a former lawyer at the Internal Revenue Service, is a tax lawyer.