Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) Lauded For Straightforward Legislation
Arlington, VA — The 60 Plus Association supports U.S. Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) and his bill, HR 235, calling for first amendment rights to be recognized and upheld whenever houses of worship elect to weigh-in on moral and political issues of the day.
In 1954, then Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson inserted a ban on political speech as a floor amendment in order to silence certain organizations that were opposing him in the Democratic Party. Not a single hearing took place nor was any congressional record developed in order to explain the reasons for the ban. While there was never an indication that Senator Johnson intended to target houses of worship, the reality is to this day, houses of worship and their religious leaders fear for their tax-exempt status if they should offer opinions on politically or morally-sensitive issues before their congregations.
60 Plus Association president Jim Martin said, “This chill on rabbis, pastors and priests and their Constitutionally-guaranteed right of free speech is something that should not be happening in today’s America. It needs correction and on behalf of seniors all across America, I’m happily endorsing Congressman Walter Jones’ bill, HR 235, which seeks to remedy this. HR 235 will finally give back to churches and other places of worship the freedom to speak, whether the issue is construed to be political or not. Congregations ought to be able to be informed by their religious leaders as they could in the marketplace of free ideas.”