BishopShrines“We should ignore political parties, and, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., measure [candidates] by the content of their character,” Shines said. “Let’s see if they measure up to some standard of morality that we would be comfortable with as believers in Christianity.”

Bishop Aubrey Shines believes it’s important to present his Tampa, Fla., church parishioners with information. That usually takes the form of exegeting scripture, but it sometimes takes on a political flavor: Shines never hesitates to tell his congregation who he’s voting for and why he’s doing it.

Shines is part of a growing movement to challenge the so-called Johnson Amendment, a 1954 Internal Revenue Service regulation prohibiting clergy from participating in the political process—risking their churches losing tax-exempt status. Then-Senate Minority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson crafted the rule as a way of silencing critics in his home state of Texas, and now some religious leaders are banding together to change or overturn it.

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