Rorate Caeli

The future of the Freedom of the Church in America

This blog has purposely stayed out of the 2016 political fray, especially during the Republican primary season (even on Twitter, where you really should be following us if you're not).

Also throughout this year, on Twitter, we have been warning bishops and priests that, after the Supreme Court ruling on fake "marriages," prudence would demand they begin to plan for the loss of their tax-exempt status once the state dictates they perform the fake "marriages" or pay taxes. 

Now, enter Donald J. Trump. To be clear, we are not, have not and will not support any candidacy, but it is important to explain where the freedom of the Catholic Church will be better protected.

Back in 1954, when future President Lyndon Johnson was still a senator, he helped pass a change to the U.S. Tax Code called the Johnson Amendment. The amendment, among other things, prevents tax-exempt institutions and churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

So, if Candidate A is a rabid pro-abort, and Candidate B is a man of faith, our priests, college presidents, bishops conference, etc., must stay silent, saying no more than something such as "we believe you should vote pro-life" (yes, we know, the USCCB and many "Catholic" school presidents would probably still not endorse over other issues not related to -- or now, sadly, in direct opposition to the Faith -- even if the law didn't exist). 

Because of this law -- which really does fit nicely into a land that divorced God from its governance from the beginning -- we have warned our prelates and priests to start their planning for a day when they have to pay taxes in order to prevent violating their consciences.

Then, in a remarkable but little-reported line in Donald Trump's speech announcing Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, he made a statement to the effect that we must allow religious to speak freely in our society and in their churches -- and he promised the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

First the work was done at Trump's request at the GOP Platform Committee meeting a few days earlier. According to reports from Time Magazine, Trump woke up Jerry Falwell Jr. with the news:

“He was so excited,” Falwell says. “After 30 years of the so-called conservative leaders who have been elected by evangelicals, none of them thought to advocate for the repeal of the Johnson amendment, giving evangelical leaders political free speech. … He thinks it is going to be a revolution in the Christian world.”

In the speech yesterday, Trump stated: “We’re going to get rid of that horrible Johnson amendment and we’re going to let evangelicals -- we’re going to let Christians and Jews and people of religion talk without being afraid to talk."