There is nothing in the Johnson amendment that talks about 'code words' - words when used in church may jeopardize the non-exempt status of the church. That was an administrative decision by the Internal Revenue Service that if you as a religious leader, whether you be Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or Muslim, if you have these types of sermons and you might mention these words like pro-life or pro-choice, then you could have your 501(c)(3) status jeopardized. The concern by the Internal Revenue Service is that 501(c)(3) organizations may support or oppose a particular candidate in a political campaign without specifically naming the candidate by using code words to substitute for the candidate's name in its message, such as conservative, liberal, prolife, prochoice, antichoice, Republican, Democrat, et cetera. When this occurs, it is quite evident what is happening, and an intervention is taking place.
Now, he did not mention Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, he did not mention anything of that nature or the name of the candidates. But what he did was to issue this pastoral letter. And then Barry Lynn, who is the leader of the Americans for Separation of Church and State, noted in his letter of complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that Bishop Sheridan used 'code words.' Code words like pro-choice, pro-life, liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican.
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to state that churches and other houses of worship shall not lose such designation because of the content, preparation, or presentation of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious services or gatherings.
While during this time, congress had efficiently (in 19 days) passed bill to congradulate Randy Johnson on pitching a perfect game on May 14, 2004. It passed to congratulate the University of Connecticut Huskies for winning the 2004 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men and women's basketball championships on May 4, 2004. It passed to congratule the San Jose Earthquakes for winning the 2003 Major League Soccer Cup on Mar 9, 2004. It passed to congratulate the Detroit Shock for winning the 2003 Women's National Basketball Association championship on Mar 9, 2004.
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