Posted: May 04, 2017
The Nonprofit Association of Oregon strongly supports religious and political freedoms as practiced by both secular and non-secular nonprofits across our great state. Churches and nonprofits understand their unique positions in society as the places where community members go to practice their faith, freely associate and create and strengthen community. It is not only imperative that those structures remain non-partisan, but this is a fundamental foundational belief of our democracy. It is with dismay and deep concern that we witnessed President Trump sign an executive order this morning relaxing accountability on faith and nonprofit groups to engage in partisan politics. Donations to churches and charitable nonprofits should not be used to support partisan politics and certainly not for a politician’s political campaign. Our work with communities is too important to siphon our funds off to politicians. We join with Independent Sector and the National Council of Nonprofits in expressing our concern and objections to this order and encourage Congress to act swiftly to clarify the need for these important distinctions between partisanship and faith and charitable organizations.
The executive order directs the IRS to “look the other way” … for now. That could change again and we suggest that churches and nonprofits not fall victim to this bait. NAO encourages nonprofits and churches in Oregon to continue to avoid endorsing politicians for office or collecting campaign contributions. President Trump’s executive order does not repeal the Johnson Amendment and the legal ramifications for charities and churches is unclear as regard to other applicable legal requirements. Please contact NAO if you are approached by politicians for either endorsements or political campaign contributions.