In the final days of the campaign, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will be making a last-minute appeal to evangelical voters through a video appearance that will be broadcast into thousands of churches Sunday.
The video, which is nearly five minutes long, will be played in churches in several swing states and some rust belt states, according to a source who spoke to TheBlaze on condition of anonymity.
In the video, Pence, who calls himself a “fellow believer,” describes his decision to become a Christian, telling viewers he has relied on his faith “more times than I could possibly count.”
“In these troubled times, I believe we stand at a turning point, when those who cherish faith, those who cherish freedom, those who cherish the sanctity of life and all the liberties enshrined in our Constitution should step forward and heed the call to action,” Pence says.
That “call to action” is, of course, to vote for his running mate, Donald Trump, for president.
The crux of Pence’s appeal to Christian voters is a promise to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment in an effort to “free up the voices of faith all across this country.” The legislation to which he is referring is an amendment by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson that was approved by Congress in 1954. The bill bars churches and charities “from engaging in any political campaign activity,” according to the Internal Revenue Service website.
“Donald Trump and I are both committed to work with renewed Republican majorities in the House and the Senate to repeal the Johnson Amendment once and for all,” Pence says, adding, “The strength of our nation has come from our communities of faith.”
Ironically, the Trump campaign appears to be dancing around the edge of the same legislation it is promising to repeal, when toward the end of the video, Pence directly encourages churchgoers to vote for Trump.
“I think it’s a time in the life of our nation when people who cherish life, when people who cherish our liberties, when people who cherish the great traditions that are enshrined in our Constitution should come together and support Donald Trump and our agenda to Make America Great Again,” he says.
According to the IRS, in order “to remain tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization.”
The Republican ticket and the churches that play the video appear to be safe from any threat of losing their tax status, though, as long as the church itself does not endorse the comments made by Pence. Based on the tax code, it seems the video falls under a provision for providing a forum for the candidates which “is not, in and of itself, prohibited political activity.”
On face value, the video doesn’t even violate the summary of the law from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an advocacy group against church political activity, which agues churches cannot actively campaign for any candidate.
At the conclusion of the video, Pence, who told viewers Tuesday will be a “time for choosing,” a hat tip to former President Ronald Reagan, encourages Christians to pray and invokes 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Watch the video here.