By Bill Maher
When we talk about keeping the churches out of politics, we usually imagine a minister endorsing a candidate from the pulpit. But it’s bigger than that. If the Middle Class Tax Cut ™ gets signed into law, churches will become the ultimate weapon in money politics.
The House version of the tax bill repeals the 1954 Johnson Amendment and, once that’s gone, churches can not only endorse political candidates, they can raise and spend unlimited money on their behalf. Joel Osteen can buy attack ads. The churches will be laundromats for dark money and they’ll be even better at it than the “advocacy groups” we have now, because churches don’t have to file 990s with the IRS saying who wrote them the checks.
Let’s say you wanted to help a candidate but you didn’t want anyone to know it was you, because you live in Moscow. Just give the money to a church, and let them give it to Facebook. But keep your receipts! Because, unlike contributions to a candidate, a committee, a party or a PAC, donations to a church are tax-deductible.