Trump protects religious liberty in new exec order

Trump protects religious liberty in new exec order

Trump protects religious liberty in new exec order

President Donald Trump used the occasion of National Prayer Day on Thursday to sign an executive order "promoting free speech and religious liberty" that would allow religious leaders and groups to engage in political activity and speech without fear of repercussion. "And if anyone in Florida uses this Executive Order to discriminate against a single member of our community, Equality Florida will be there to fight back with everything we have".

"As a result of President Trump's (order), churches and religious organizations will be able to blatantly and deliberately flaunt the electioneering restrictions. including during the upcoming 2018 elections, unlike secular non-profits, including FFRF", the lawsuit states.

The order, which Trump inked during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the IRS to exercise "maximum enforcement discretion" over the Johnson amendment, which prevents churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. "As an institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been and remains committed to political neutrality".

Today's executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.

Legislation is seemingly being organized in the House of Representatives to do just that - to repeal the Johnson Act, as it is applied to tax legislation.

President Trump's new order on religious liberty signed Thursday is so toothless that not even the American Civil Liberties Union, which was waiting in the wings to sue over it as they have with other executive moves on immigration, is willing to take it to court.

"You're now in a position where you can say what you want to say", Trump said before signing the order, along with a proclamation.

DAVID SAPERSTEIN: What is a pastor to if a congregant who's a major donor says, I'll give you the gift this year but only if you endorse such a candidate?

Both praise and criticism following the President's new executive order that could allow religious groups to become more politically active. "Today's executive order will not affect that longstanding policy", said LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

Leaders of some faith groups condemned the order, saying it would damage congregations by politicizing them.

In early February, a leaked copy of a draft executive order included similar message, which critics said would allow for widespread discrimination based on objections to sexuality, premarital sex, abortion and other reproductive health care, and gender identity.

"We know all too well the attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor", he said, "incredible nuns who care for the sick, the elderly, and the forgotten".

"America has a rich tradition of social change beginning in our pews and our pulpits", Trump said in front of an audience of religious leaders Thursday.

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