Remarks delivered by Executive Director Jennifer Copeland at HKonJ 2017.
Picture this on the marquee in front of your favorite house of worship:
Pulpit for Sale! For the right price I will support the Republican candidate for office, but bring me more money next week and I’ll support the Democrat. Perhaps with enough financial incentive, I’ll preach a sermon for the Communist. Makes no difference, it’s all about the money.
If the Johnson amendment is repealed, a promise made just weeks ago by the one who is now President, faith communities will be the only place where you can make a tax-deductible contribution supporting your candidate of choice. And that’s the key—tax deductible.
This atrocity will be the latest in a long list of trampled American values—the invaluable Separation of Church and State. Even if you don’t care about religion, you should care about this value—the first value named in the Constitution. When this value evaporates, others will be close behind: free speech, free press, free assembly.
Imagine the faith communities embroiled in discussions over whether it would be Hillary or Donald for your church. And who would give them the most money to support one of those people. Pulpits all over this country will be bought by the highest bidder.
In the pulpit, we proclaim the Gospel and in so proclaiming we give credence to God’s priorities, not the Democrats or the Republicans. We refract every political candidate, every policy initiative, every law of the land, through that lens of faith.
The NC Council of Churches hereby goes on record opposing repeal of the Johnson Amendment, asserting that such a repeal has nothing to do with Freedom of Religion and everything to do with Buying the Pulpit. Look at our history, Christian friends. We’ve been bought out before and it wasn’t good. It won’t be good this time. Tell your elected representatives, this is a very, very, bad idea. Keep our sacred spaces sacred. Thank you.