Letter: Support separation of church, state

We must support our tradition of separation of church and state in order to prevent religious-based ideological civil war. We must maintain the Johnson Amendment that guards against these potential civil wars. People from religion-based groups gather to worship their God and develop their faith, not support politicians or their ideologies.

In 1954, Congress passed the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are the most common type of nonprofit organization in the United States, ranging from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas.

Desolation of the Johnson Amendment will allow clerics and other spokespersons from religious-based, not-for-profit groups, to endorse a political candidate or his/her ideology, thus creating an atmosphere for enhanced conflict among the faithful followers of these religious-based organizations.

Desolation of the Johnson Amendment will not only pit one religious tradition against the other, but fracture the faithful within their own religious tradition. Instead of building cooperation among the faithful who promote values documented in their sacred texts and sacred tradition, it would enhance fracturing among the faithful.

Annamarie Marcalus

Iowa City

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