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lazybuzz.com June 27, 2017


Religious Groups Divided Over Trump's Executive Order

17 May 2017, 02:09 | Hilda Schwartz

Religious Groups Divided Over Trump's Executive Order

Religious Groups Divided Over Trump's Executive Order

"In signing this so-called "religious liberty" order, the president has essentially granted broad permission to discriminate, and ceded enormous power to unelected officials to interpret regulation and current law", Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm told CNN. But the Trump Administration's plan to secure religious liberty are drawing criticism from faith leaders and civil, human and reproductive rights groups. And we will never, ever stand for religious discrimination.

"Because President Trump has so far failed to fulfill his repeated campaign promises, people of faith must now turn their attention to the (Department of Justice) to receive the protections President Trump has long promised them", group president Brian Brown said.

Trump will introduce the measure "promoting free speech and religious liberty" at a White House event marking the National Day of Prayer, a senior White House official said Wednesday night. "I think they oughta have a voice but I'm just totally against getting the political arena in the church arena", said Cooper.

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Summary: President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will allow churches to participate in politics without fear of losing their tax-exempt status.

Trump's order includes language that says the executive branch "will honor and enforce" existing laws. It also provides "regulatory relief" for organizations that object on religious grounds to a provision in Obamacare that mandates employers provide certain health services, including coverage for contraception.

This executive order directs the Internal Revenue Service not to unfairly target churches and religious organisations for political speech. The Madison, Wisconsin-based group argues in the filing that the order is unconstitutional because it grants preferential treatment to religious organizations while secular groups must still abide by the law.

The Johnson Amendment, named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas and enacted into law in 1954, restricts tax-exempt organizations, including churches and religious organizations, from endorsing or opposing candidates for elected office.

This executive order may go down in history as the Citizens United of church/state separation in the context of political spending. Romero said: "After careful review of the order's text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process".



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