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June 22, 2016

Trump Pledges to Lift Ban on Politicking by Churches

Speaking Tuesday to a gathering of conservative evangelicals, Donald Trump said that if elected president he will end the decades-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt groups engaging explicitly in electoral politics, The Washington Post reports.

“I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity — and other religions — is to allow you, when you talk religious liberty, to go and speak openly, and if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it,” the presumptive Republican nominee told the New York City audience, which included many longtime leaders of the Christian right.

Internal Revenue Service rules dating to the Lyndon Johnson administration ban tax-exempt organizations from making direct political endorsements. Faith leaders have long called for lifting the restriction, with hundreds of clergy violating the ban in election-year sermons to provoke a showdown with the IRS over the regulation.