President Trump's Executive Order On Religious Liberty, Annotated

The irony of this order is that millions of people of faith are affronted by the fact that Trump is misusing religious freedom to promote something they believe is morally wrong.

"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.

FILE - In this July 30, 1954 file photo, then-Sen. Warbelow said no churches have lost tax-exempt status in relation to same-sex marriage. "For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans' first freedom".

It's unclear what impact, if any, this executive order would have on LGBT communities, said Laura Kanter, director of policy, advocacy and youth programs at the LGBT Center Orange County. "No executive order will ever change that fundamental right".

President Donald Trump signed an executive order promoting religious freedom to mark the National Day of Prayer on Thursday.

An earlier draft order that was leaked in February sounded alarm bells among LGBT-rights groups, who have been wary since the election of President Trump and Vice-president Mike Pence. Trump's order gives religious groups more liberty to do so without jeopardizing tax-exempt status.

"We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore", he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press.

He said he was "thrilled" by the language on the IRS restrictions. "This administratively removes the threat of harassment", Reed said in a phone interview. "That is a really big deal".

Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders were attending the conference, created to mobilize religious conservative voters ahead of the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential contest.

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Baylor of the Alliance Defending Freedom said "regulatory relief", if provided, would still be inadequate.

The White House says it's part of a strategy to reach out across religions to fight extremism. "I think they oughta have a voice but I'm just totally against getting the political arena in the church arena", said Cooper. If he were to persuade Congress to repeal the law, the effects could extend beyond priests and preachers issuing endorsements from the pulpit.

Trump has told the IRS to use "maximum enforcement discretion" in these type of matters, an order the agency will follow, Staver said.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe, derided the Johnson amendment Thursday in a speech before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Runquist cites a case in the 1990s when a NY church bought full-page newspaper advertisements that called on Christians not to vote for Bill Clinton.

While Trump's action on the Johnson Amendment aims to please religious conservatives, not all of them are on board.

Jewish groups largely came out against a new executive order allowing clergy to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit, fearing that it will erode the separation between church and state. Almost 100 clergy and faith leaders from across a range of denominations sent a letter last month to congressional leaders urging them to uphold the regulation. He directed the attorney general to "as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law".

"If churches and other religious institutions read this order as an invitation to start politicking, they are mistaken", said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.

The second requires federal agencies to consider amending regulations "to address conscience-based objections" to the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, such as those brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns.

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