Hawley: Law prohibiting politics at the pulpit should change

Sen.-elect Josh Hawley. (Getty Images)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, wants to do away with a provision in the federal tax code that bars religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained audio of an Aug. 21 speech to religious leaders in St. Louis in which Hawley said he favors repealing the Johnson Amendment. Hawley said religious liberty “is under attack in this country and it’s a terrible thing.”

Hawley, in a statement provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday, called the Johnson Amendment “unconstitutional.” He says the government shouldn’t tell pastors what they can say from the pulpit.

Hawley is facing Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the November election. A spokesman for McCaskill says she opposes repealing the Johnson Amendment.