ACLU Won't Be Suing Trump Over His 'Religious Liberty' Order After All

But Trump's order directs the Internal Revenue Service not to prosecute violations of the Johnson Amendment by houses of worship, effectively ensuring that they won't face repercussions from the law.

In the Rose Garden on Thursday, Trump said the rule threatens the tax-exempt status of a church if a leader "speaks about issues of public or political importance".

Today, Donald Trump signed an executive order that relaxes the law restricting religious organizations from publicly endorsing political candidates running for elections.

Trump's move has thrilled those on the religious right, including Anaheim resident Louis P. Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, which has been labeled an "anti-LGBT hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Trump's order also asks federal agencies to consider issuing new regulations that the White House says could help religious groups that object to paying for contraception under the Affordable Care Act health law.

The White House says the order is necessary to protect religious groups that had been "persecuted by the Obama administration" such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group which faced huge fines over their refusal to pay for contraception under Obamacare.

Since the order was signed, Chris Ott, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, was trying to figure out how it could impact the state.

Reed said he was "thrilled" by the language on the IRS restrictions on partisan political activity. "That is a really big deal".

"It seems like they're trying to set up a whack-a-mole situation where we don't know what the attorney general will be rolling out as guidance", Sommer said. Organisations were required to notify the health department that they would not cover birth control to claim the exemption. That draft contained sweeping provisions on conscience protection for faith-based ministries, schools and federal workers across an array of agencies.

In February, he vowed to "totally destroy" it.

Trump hosted members of his evangelical advisory board at the White House Wednesday night and planned to meet with Roman Catholic leaders Thursday before signing the order. The official insisted on anonymity despite criticism from president himself of the media's use of anonymous sources.

The ban, written by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson. Johnson was not interested in religious organizations when he proposed - and pushed through in typical Johnson heavy-handed fashion - the amendment, but he was hoping to silence two nonprofit groups campaigning against him as "a closet Communist".

A recent survey of evangelical leaders conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals showed 89 percent said pastors should not endorse candidates from the pulpit, and a LifeWay Research poll past year revealed 79 percent of Americans said it is inappropriate for ministers to endorse political candidates in worship services. "Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes". Even so, some religious leaders have argued the rule has a chilling effect on free speech.

"Because of President Trump's failure to directly fulfill his repeated campaign promises, people of faith will continue to be in the crosshairs of the government, forced to choose between abandoning their beliefs or risk facing government persecution and complying with onerous demands of the government", Brown said.

The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech". Find us on Facebook too!

The conservative Christian group, Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, said the executive order didn't go far enough, calling it a "beginning, not an end".

  • Leroy Wright


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