Trump vows to ‘destroy’ law meant to separate church and state

Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 19:58:43-05

President Donald Trump vowed not just to repeal a law barring non-profits and churches from endorsing or opposing candidates, he vowed to "destroy" it.

Trump has targeted the Johnson Amendment for destruction throughout his campaign, saying he didn't realize the regulation was in place before he ran for president.

The Johnson Amendment has been around since 1954. Named after then Senator Lyndon Johnson, it added a portion of the definition of a non-profit organization, that such a group, "...does not participate in, or intervene in...any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

Opponents of the amendment say it abridges the free speech rights of churches. Proponents say it just denies the benefit of a tax exemption to ensure the government doesn't give favor to a partisan group.

The dominant faith group in Utah, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chose not to comment on this issue, but they have a long-standing policy of political neutrality they say is separate from the legal requirements in question.