Atheists File Suit Against Trump's 'Religious Liberty' Executive Order

Atheists File Suit Against Trump's 'Religious Liberty' Executive Order

Cheryl Sanders
May 11, 2017

The order's signing, coinciding with the National Day of Prayer, fulfills a key campaign promise by Trump, who once told a crowd of religious leaders that he envisioned a future in which they would be able to openly support political candidates.

"If Trump singles out just churches from this prohibition, he's showing favoritism", she says.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will allow churches and other religious organisations to become more active politically, the media reported.

Opponents and supporters of the order don't fall neatly into the worlds of "secular" and "religious".

"For too long the federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith, bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs", Trump said, later telling those gathered for the event that "you're now in a position to say what you want to say".

GJELTEN: Trump's order does direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to consider new regulations for implementing the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.

During remarks Thursday, Trump said the order would prevent religious groups from being singled out for their political views.

However, the executive order did not include any provisions regarding the LGBT+ community, despite an earlier leaked draft doing so. "It's harder to mobilize people because they're like let's wait and see, let's wait and see, and in today's political climate we don't always have the luxury of waiting and seeing". "We put into the platform, we're going to get rid of the disgusting Johnson Amendment".

Currently, under the Johnson Amendment, churches are not allowed to endorse or oppose a political candidate. The president had also said that he wanted to do away with the Johnson Amendment, a provision that prohibits religious institutions from supporting or opposing political parties and candidates.

"I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution", Trump said in February.

The IRS doesn't make its investigations of such cases public, but only one church is known to have lost its tax-exempt status as a result of the law.

"The religious freedom of individuals and organizations, including that of clergy and houses of worship, is already protected by the First Amendment and federal law".

Gregory Baylor, senior counsel for the pro-faith group Alliance Defending Freedom, was among the Christian conservatives to criticize the order, calling it "disappointingly vague" and questioning whether the IRS would follow through with Trump's directive.

The move by Trump, who appealed to religious conservatives in his 2016 presidential run, was widely praised by religious organizations that felt hemmed in by the law or openly violated it.

Other reports by iNewsToday