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More than 300 black churches across Virginia are expected to desecrate their sanctuaries by broadcasting a video message from Vice President Kamala Harris. The video, which you can watch below, urges black voters to support Democrat gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe.
CNN first reported that the video message that will air during morning services from now until election day as part of an outreach effort aimed to boost McAuliffe.
Harris said her time growing up in Oakland’s 23rd Avenue Church of God taught her it was a “sacred responsibility” to “lift up the voices of our community.”
“I believe that my friend Terry McAuliffe is the leader Virginia needs at this moment,” says Harris, before praising McAuliffe’s “long-track record of getting things done for the people of Virginia.”Harris implores congregants to vote following church service.
This video appears to be a direct violation of the Johnson Amendment.
In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.
Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
NEW — More than 300 Black churches across VA will hear from @KamalaHarris btwn Sun. and November 2 in video message that will air during morning services as part of outreach effort aimed to boost @TerryMcAuliffe.#VAGOV— Eva McKend (@evamckend) October 16, 2021
Video first obtained by CNNhttps://t.co/vaefXtWqUe pic.twitter.com/l8re0KUkN1