Trump’s church politics idea has wide reach, beyond GOP base

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By BILL BARROW

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) – Republican President Donald Trump wants to relax restrictions on the political activity of churches.

It’s a nod to the many evangelicals who helped elect him. But the idea could reach across the political spectrum and affect black evangelicals who align mostly with Democrats.

Current law doesn’t prevent churches from all political activity. But the law called the “Johnson amendment” has since 1954 blocked churches and their leaders from making official endorsements and political contributions.

Some prominent black pastors say they like the law the way it is. They express concerns that donors could try to purchase endorsements and funnel money for political campaigns through churches.

Some of Trump’s backers say they want only to give pastors the freedom to take strong positions without fear of the IRS stripping their tax-exempt status.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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