A Simple Breakdown of the Johnson Amendment

Dear Kim,

Do you have any easy to read explanations of the “Johnson Amendment”? I am trying to educate myself about this but find that most of what is written is too complicated for my attention span. The right wing seems to claim this amendment infringes on free speech, but everyone else seems to think this amendment protects the integrity of houses of worship.

Please help.

~Cut to the Chase

Dear Chase,

Here is an easy and short explanation in favor of keeping the Johnson Amendment, which, in my view, is the opinion of anyone with any commitment to maintaining our democracy.


I am amazed and appalled at how much attention the nonprofit sector is paying to the charitable tax deduction and how little, with a few exceptions, to this amendment. I encourage all readers to focus on the common good and on what promotes true democracy. Right now we are very close to having the best system money can buy and repeal of this amendment will further insure that money rules everything.

~Kim Klein