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Trump wants to end political limits on tax-exempt churches — should we?

Courtesy Gil Aegerter

Joe Fuiten likes President Donald Trump's proposal to eliminate tax restrictions on churches' participation in politics.

Fuiten built up one of Washington's largest churches, Cedar Park Church in Bothell. He told KUOW's Kim Malcolm that he found ways around the Johnson Amendment because he knew the law and followed it.

The 1954 Johnson Amendment limited what churches and other tax-exempt groups can do in politics in return for their federal tax exemption.

It essentially bans them from endorsing or openly supporting candidates if they want to keep tax-exempt status.

Supporters say the rule prevents churches from being politicized and becoming part of the campaign finance system.

But Fuiten, who stepped back last year as lead pastor at Cedar Park after more than 30 years at the helm, thinks the restrictions are wrong and hinder the free speech rights of pastors and churches.

But Mark Markuly, dean of theology at Seattle University, says there are problems with that and many in the religious community want to keep the rule as it is.

Here what they have to say in the audio above.

Year started with KUOW: 2015
Year started with KUOW: 2013