Reagan had his 11th commandment: “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican.” However, Reagan meant this only to apply to party politics and not the general public. Unfortunately, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson also had an 11th commandment, but in his case he was able to impose it upon the entire nation. Since 1954, Johnson’s 11th commandment has proven to be far more destructive to this country than his escalation of the Viet Nam conflict. The 1954 Johnson Amendment clearly screamed in no uncertain terms: “Thou shall not speak up against or endorse any political candidate if you are a church or a non-profit organization or you will lose your tax exempt status.” This commandment not only violated the churches’ First Amendment right of free speech, it also violated all of our First Amendment rights to worship as we see fit without any government interference, and it ultimately perverted the true meaning of separation of church and state, which was to protect the church from the state and not the other way around.
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