The Johnson Amendment Act, Freedom of Speech Gone Wrong

The Johnson Amendment Act, Freedom of Speech Gone Wrong
February 25, 2020 Comments Off on The Johnson Amendment Act, Freedom of Speech Gone Wrong Local Politics, News, Trump Diane Rivera López

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.4347/A.623) known as the Johnson Amendment Act into law on October 23, 2019. This new law restricts non-profit corporations from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or against a candidate running for public office. It further states that

any corporation, association, trust, or community chest, fund, foundation, or limited liability company, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary or educational purposes” may not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office

Governor Cuomo justified it by saying,“New Yorkers have a right to free and fair elections, and this law will further protect our democracy from unjustified interferences once and for all.” Mr. Cuomo’s interferences are not the proper description of the church. People misunderstand the meaning of “the separation of church and state. Separation of church and state is to protect churches as organizations from government interference as much as citizens from oppression by the church. The church is made up of individuals whose rights will be infringed on because of their religious beliefs.

It forces members of the clergy to abstain from their civic rights and responsibilities as citizens of the United States of America. Our natural rights should be upheld to ensure that the government does not oppress the people. We should be able to express ourselves completely regardless of our occupation. Speaking from a pulpit or from the lips of a corner preacher, they should have just as much freedom as those speaking from any other corner of our society.

On May 4, 2017, Our President Trump counteracted such legislation by signing an executive order that directs the executive branch to limit its enforcement of the “Johnson Amendment.” The executive order gives the authority to all executive departments and agencies, “to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech.” It is noted that the Department of Treasury should not take any “adverse action” against any individual, house of worship or other religious organization because the individual or organization speaks on moral or political issues from a religious perspective if similar speech has not generally been treated as participating or intervening in a political campaign on behalf or against a politician by the Department of Treasury. “Adverse action” includes the imposition of tax, penalties, delay or denial of tax-exempt status and disallowance of tax deductions for contributions made to organizations that are exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Code. We thank President Trump, for this and other actions to protect our freedoms of religions, more than any other President in our history.

In closing, it is imperative to stay attentive to the effects of such legislation and there should be noticed, for all other states who try to implement this kind of law, not to stand by idle and indifferent, as if it has no bearing in our houses of worship.  This is an article directed to the leaders in the state of New York, and the defenders of freedom, to our neighboring states and to all citizens across America, to stand up and speak out to the defiance that is slowly but surely being pushed down our throats. So, I ask, at what point would we take a position to push back and say enough! What will be our turning point? We are the Body of Christ! We are strong and resilient. Today, it is this, yesterday it was the other, tomorrow if we are not prepared for the battle, what will it be? It is time to wake up Church and speak up for the people.

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About The Author
Diane Rivera López
Diane Rivera López Diane Rivera López, was born and raised in the heart of Midtown Manhattan on 58st and 9th avenue. Her parents were born in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico, her extended family members are unique since they have a mixture of Countries such as the Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Philippine, African American, Vietnamese and the latest edition of the Country of Ukraine. In 1993, unfortunately she experienced a tragedy in her life and was gun shot 4x, in a Domestic Violence assault, God gave her the opportunity to live and refusing to be a victim she became an overcomer. After two surgeries in 1993 and another in 2008, one of the bullets that had remained in her hip was removed in 2008, having left her with a high level of 64 Lead Poisoning. In that time period the lead level had placed a strain on her ability to read and write, thankfully she has recovered and walks normally, even without a cane! Diane has continued to strive and excel in becoming a great example of perseverance, overcoming life’s greatest challenges with the greatest yet simplest acts of love, braveness and forgiveness. She has turned her experiences into purpose, an began working as an activist and conference speaker for Domestic Violence. Her ministerial and community outreach service started in 1996 in her local church in Spanish Harlem, serving as a Sunday School Bible teacher for children, an organizer and leader in the youth club of her church. She then became the secretary of the church and a deacon for the next 5 years. In her love of writing she joined a ministry as Director and Writer, in Trumpet Tract Ministries for 7 years, where she printed thousands of tracts, and together with the founder sent them across the tri-state area, to several other states as well as various International Countries. She has coordinated and assisted in many outreach community events, street evangelism, and for 3 years organized a gran festival celebrating the diverse cultures in the community. In that time, she also became the assistant coordinator of the N.Y Christian Children’s Parade for 10 consecutive years. Her community service extended as a community Chaplain, where she continued to minister and led conferences in several prisons in the Dominican Republic, provided counseling and bible classes in two drug rehabilitation programs in N.Y. Her love for speaking was best heard as a speaker and fundraiser at Christian Radio Vision International 1330 am, for seven years. She also produced her own weekly T.V program on Manhattan Neighborhood Network for 3 consecutive years, as well as stared in a play that had several presentations at the auditorium of City College. Her speaking engagements range from social issues with diverse conferences or being a host for several events, as well as a guest in many television programs, such as Cristiana in Unívision. In her love of writing she is currently a writer and part of “Subete al Arca” Christian Magazine, as well as the previous Director of “The Gala Magazine” of the Redemption Awards, where was a publicist. For the last 3 years, she is an account executive at Alerta T.V Network, which airs 24/7 on Verizon Cable, channel 463. She is presently working on her first book, which will have an array of current topics as well as her personal life story, believing that it will be of great inspiration, among several blogs she has written up to date. Her newest endeavor is as a Logistic Coordinator at CAC Investment. In 2013 she became the Deputy Campaign Manager for a Mayoral Candidate in the state of N.Y. In her boldness and search to fit in her conservative values, she left the Democratic Party, where she had been a County Committee Member, stating that there was no room left for Christians that hold conservative values. In her newest accomplishments she is a columnist at Al Rojo News a local secular newspaper distributed in the area of N.Y.C. Honored with 2 Certificates of Merit from the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly, among other certificates of recognition, she humbly gives God all of the Glory and Honor. She studied Communications at BMCC for a few semesters and is a few credits shy of a Bachelor’s in Theological Studies. Yet, she has said that her greatest accomplishment is said to be her experiences and revelations from the book of Revelations, the Rapture and the Kingdom of God, so as several miracles she received throughout her life, being forever grateful. As a Journalist for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, she is honored to be a part of the great change that our Country needs, as well as the preservation of those principles and values that we hold dear to, aiming to be part of our great American Dream.
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