Fr. Frank Pavone available for comment on Johnson Amendment during Value Voters Summit

Fr. Frank Pavone available for comment on Johnson Amendment during Value Voters Summit


Date: September 8, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and author of Abolishing Abortion (Nelson Books, August, 2015) has written extensively about the Johnson Amendment and is available for comment on presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to discuss the repeal of the amendment at this week’s Value Voters Summit.

In Abolishing Abortion, Father Pavone devotes several chapters to the political origins of the law, how it has stifled churches and clergy since 1954, and how Churches themselves often make its effect worse or simply use it as an excuse for cowardice:

“Having won his Senate seat only by a margin of 87 highly disputed votes and now up for re-election, Johnson wanted to silence two secular, nonprofit organizations that were supporting his opponent. Johnson had made inquiries with the IRS commissioner to determine whether these organizations were breaking any law by their political involvement. When told they were not, he introduced the amendment to punish them for what had been legal up till then. At the time, there were no discussions, debates or any considerations of a constitutional foundation for the amendment. Nor was there any discussion of whether this restriction applied to churches.”

Father Pavone also criticizes the interpretation of the amendment offered by the IRS, with its vague “facts and circumstances approach:

“… It has been a maze of confusion and inconsistency that, in practice, has made this provision unintelligible and therefore next to impossible to apply.”

Fr. Pavone’s book offers some practical suggestions to move forward beyond self-censorship. To arrange an interview with Father Pavone, contact Leslie Palma-Simoncek, communications director at Priests for Life, at 347-286-7277 or

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit


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