Wisconsin-based atheist group sues Trump over church order

Source: Associated Press

By TODD RICHMOND

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin-based atheist group has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to strike down President Donald Trump’s order easing enforcement of an IRS rule limiting religious organizations’ political activity.

A 1954 federal law prohibits tax-exempt charitable organizations such as churches from participating in political campaigns. Violators could lose their tax-exempt status, but the law — known as the Johnson Amendment — has rarely been enforced.

The IRS doesn’t make its investigations of such cases public, but only one church is known to have lost its tax-exempt status as a result of the law. Still, Trump has long promised conservative Christians who supported his White House bid that he would block the regulation.

On Thursday the president issued an executive order directing the Treasury Department not to take “adverse action” against churches or religious organizations for political speech. He said he was giving churches their voices back.

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