Donald Trump has written another executive order that will come to nothing. That order instructs the IRS “…to exercise maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits religious leaders from speaking about politics and candidates from the pulpit.” (Free Thought Today, Vol. 34, No. 8, pg. 1.) The president may be playing to his base, but he has no authority to make this demand. In any case, the IRS tends to turn a blind eye to political tantrums from the pulpit. During my political life, one Christian Baptist church, with no repercussions, raised an army against me each time I ran for public office.
Trump’s declaration comes at a time when a proposed change to the Johnson Amendment is before the U. S. Senate. The provision was passed by the House on September 14 of this year. It withdraws IRS funding to investigate charges a nonprofit has engaged in politics. Of course, even if passed, individuals and organizations can pursue their complaints against a nonprofit in court. Trump’s Executive order is an empty gesture. (Ibid, pg. 2.)
The separation between church and state is, apparently, the only wall Donald Trump doesn’t love. He wants to tear it down. As an atheist, I should be livid. Instead, I’m inclined to smile. No matter the splendor of his I.Q., he seems incapable of grasping reality. His base is melting like a snow cone in the Kalahari desert.
The Public Religion Research Institute (Click) promoted a study that sampled 101,000 individuals, residents of all 50 states. (Click) The results of their survey show “less than half of all states are now majority white Christians.” (“Number of White Christians Shrinking in U. S.,” Free Thought Today, Vol. 34. No. 8, pg. 5.) White Christians also represent less than half the population. A majority of residents in 20 states have no religious affiliation. What’s more, “The young are less likely to believe this is a ‘Christian nation’ or to give preference to Christian identity.” (Ibid pg. 5.) Among the young, the growing religious groups are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists. (Ibid, pg. 5.) White Evangelicals hold a majority in one place only: the Republican Party. (Ibid pg. 5.)
Mr. President, whatever you think, whatever you believe, whatever you wish to be true, I regret to inform you, you have built no arc, and your motor boat is sinking.