Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

The potential tax change that divides Georgia's religious community

It’s a regular ritual on Sundays before big votes: Candidates fan out to churches across the state, take prominent perches near the pulpit and receive warm applause from parishioners. And preachers inevitably shower them with kind words, though they stop short of much more lest they cross an invisible line.

And that has deeply divided Georgia’s religious community. The mingling of politics and faith has long been a hallmark of life in the South. Candidates make pilgrimages to congregations on the Sundays ahead of elections. Pastors distribute voter guides, and many proselytize on the most pressing political issues of the day.

Yet for 63 years, churches and other charitable organizations have been barred from taking one of the most concrete actions in the political playbook: endorsing candidates. Organizations that violate the so-called Johnson Amendment risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Keep reading on MyAJC: Move for freer political speech divides Georgia’s religious community

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.