Trump will let US churches make political endorsements

Donald Trump says he will remove the decades-old ban on “politicking” by tax-exempt organisations like churches if he becomes US president.

Speaking to a Christian audience in New York on Tuesday, Mr Trump also promised, if elected president, to appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court judges.

In the 1960s, US President Lyndon Johnson established a ban on tax-exempt bodies making explicit political endorsements.

Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said he would overturn this, the Washington Post reported.

“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,” he said.

“And if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it.”

Religious leaders in America today, Mr Trump said, “are petrified”.

“You talk about religious liberty and religious freedom, you don’t have any religious freedom if you think about it,” he told the group, which broke in many times with applause.

Throughout the talk, Mr Trump emphasised that America was hurting due to what he described as Christianity’s slide to become “weaker, weaker, weaker”.

He said he’d get department store employees to say “Merry Christmas”.

He also said he would fight restrictions on public employees, such as public school coaches, from being allowed to lead sectarian prayer on the field.

Catholic conservative Robert George, former chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and a Princeton professor, declined to attend the meeting at which Mr Trump spoke.

Professor George said that while he may think even lower of Hillary Clinton, he fears Trump will “in the end, bring disgrace upon those individuals and organisations who publicly embrace him”.

“For those of us who believe in limited government, the rule of law, flourishing institutions of civil society and traditional Judeo-Christian moral principles, and who believe that our leaders must be persons of integrity and good character, this election is presenting a horrible choice.”

“May God help us.”


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