What Should Concern You About The GOP Tax Plan? It’s Not The Taxes

Imagine a world where politicians are bought and sold, not by corporations, but by religious activists hell-bent on policing your sex life. A world where thought crimes are punishable under the law.

This dystopian world is currently being pursued by the GOP under the guise of “tax reform”.

The biggest problem with the Republican tax plan has nothing to do with taxes.

There are many causes for concern in regards to the financial aspects of the GOP’s tax reform bill.

According to the non-partisan CBO report, the bill increases the national debt by 1.7 trillion dollars over the next decade.

The bill will also increase wealth inequality between the haves and the have-nots. Disenchantment and increased poverty rates will become this bill’s legacy.

These effects are frightening and are being exposed by the Democrats and the few Republicans in Congress with a conscience.

These effects, however, can be undone by Congress once the Republicans lose power. We’ve all seen disastrous tax plans get thrown to the wayside by new administrations before. The problem everyone should be focused on is one that can’t be fixed as easily by a new political party in power.

The most insidious part of the GOP tax bill is a provision pushed for by the religious right for the past 25 years.

Contained in this small section of the bill is a provision that will set the country on the road to Theocracy. The Republican party is attempting to undo the Johnson Amendment.

They want to remove the wall of separation between religion and the state, and they are hoping you don’t notice.

What Is The Johnson Amendment?

The amendment, named after Lyndon B. Johnson, passed in 1954 before LBJ became a President. It bars any church or non-profit organization from taking part in political campaigns. These organizations cannot endorse a political candidate in a direct or indirect way.

In other words, there’s a tacit agreement among non-profit organizations, churches, and the government: don’t interfere with us, and we won’t interfere with you.

What Are The Consequences Of Lifting The Amendment?

At first glance, taking away the rule prohibiting churches from taking part in politics isn’t a big deal. Why shouldn’t a preacher or Imam be able to endorse a candidate?

The answer, as always, is in the money.

If someone donates to a church or public-interest organization, they can take a tax deduction to offset their gift. A donation to a political campaign can’t take this deduction.

With the Johnson amendment repealed, there would be a way for political donors to get around this.

Churches and charities will be able to align themselves with campaigns. This puts money in their coffers while rich donors, such as the Koch brothers, get tax breaks for their massive political donations.

Churches would become political entities. Sermons during election years will be indistinguishable from campaign rallies.

Churches that choose their principles over monetary gain won’t be able to compete with their counterparts. Politicians will favor megachurches over smaller ones. Celebrity preachers will become powerful political players. Meanwhile, smaller congregations could collapse under financial pressures.

The repeal also benefits Christian churches at the expense of Mosques and other religious institutions. Republican candidates will lean on churches, as they have in the past, to play up their morality and faith. Religion will influence public policy because of their financial benefits to candidates.

The fundraisers will give Christian houses of worship a massive competitive edge over Mosques. While this would not violate the words of the first amendment, it would violate the intended spirit. One religion would gain more of a voice in government affairs at the expense of others.

How Do We Fight Back?

The first step is to contact your Congressional members. Tell them the separation of church and state is essential to protecting religious liberty. The removal of the barrier between politics and religion is not acceptable, especially under the guise of “tax reform”.

If the bill passes, put pressure on Congressional leaders to overturn this provision immediately. It will not take long for the legal system to challenge the overturning of Johnson. Religious and non-religious patriots need to prepare to make their voices heard.

Gabe Yonts is a writer currently living in St. Petersburg, FL. The main focus of his work is politics, social issues, and marketing. When not writing, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and attempting to make his cats happy. He has, at this time, failed at the latter. You can contact him at gabeyonts@yahoo.com Read other articles by Gabe.