Examining a Church’s Right to Free Speech

Hearing Date: May 4, 2017 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB


  • To examine the Johnson Amendment’s effect on churches’ and other non-profit organizations’ freedom of speech.


  • The Johnson Amendment prohibits churches and charitable organizations from engaging in any political campaign activity – violators risk losing their tax exempt status or facing penalty excise taxes.
  • Because the Amendment is an absolute prohibition, it results in self-censorship and chills church leaders’ political speech even when current issues intersect with the core tenants of their religion.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. Tony Perkins President Family Research Council Document
Ms. Catherine Engelbrecht Citizen Cat Spring, Texas Document
Ms. Christiana Holcomb Legal Counsel Alliance Defending Freedom Document
Rabbi David Saperstein Former Director and Counsel Religious Action Center Document