The Republican tax plan could lead to changes to the Johnson Amendment, which restricts faith organizations from making political endorsements. It’s a move that Rev. Mark Whitlock, executive director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, would embrace, he told the Los Angeles Times. Here’s an excerpt from the story:
The Rev. Mark Whitlock, executive director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, believes the anti-politicking rule should be repealed because, in churches, “there’s always been the undercurrent of who we want in office.”
Whitlock — who has served as pastor of Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine for two decades — said black churches have long supported candidates they believe will help the disenfranchised.
During the 2008 election, Whitlock said, he stood before his 3,500-member congregation and said, “I support Barack Obama.”
Most of the crowd cheered. A group of Clinton supporters walked out, furious. Whitlock got calls from Republican members of his congregation and from others worried the church would lose its 501(c)(3) status.
“You would have thought I committed a cardinal sin,” Whitlock said. “I tend not to hold back and take the risk of finding myself in trouble. I am cognizant of the fact there’s a law and I have a responsibility as a pastor to be creative. But why not have the opportunity to speak freely?”