Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

LDS Church says Trump's order easing political restrictions won't alter current stance

30279870283_985b3bfa2f_z LDS Church says Trump's order easing political restrictions won't alter current stance
Melody Ballard | 17 May, 2017, 02:06

Some conservative critics said the order fell short of fulfilling Trump's campaign vow to protect Americans' rights to religious liberty.

But religious leaders like the Rev. David Sickelka, senior minister at Urbandale United Church of Christ, think it could only create more divide and discrimination.

Trump noted that "freedom is not a gift from government, freedom is a gift from God".

President Donald Trump signed a highly anticipated executive order on religious liberty in front of faith leaders at the White House Rose Garden on the National Day of Prayer on Thursday. The group wants the court to declare that it gives preferential treatment to churches and halt the IRS from implementing it.

Calling the measure "an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome" the left-leaning legal non-profit rescinded its previous threats due to the fact that the EO doesn't really do much of anything to substantively protect religious freedom.

Rolling back the Johnson Amendment does not favor any particular religious views over others, and the president has broad authority to decide not to enforce certain laws, said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.

But Little Sisters Mother Provincial Mother Loraine Maguire, who stood beside Trump during the signing ceremony, issued a statement expressing the religious order's support.

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The executive order also directs the attorney general to issue guidance that interprets religious liberty protections in federal laws.

It does, however, provide "regulatory relief" for companies that object on religious grounds to providing employees with contraceptive coverage, as mandated under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to the media after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas left the White House in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2017.

Civil-rights groups opposed the executive order, which weakens regulations that prevent churches from engaging in political activity.

SIEGEL: This executive order is controversial. 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 order directs the Department of Treasury to "not use adverse action" against churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations that dip into political speech.

"The final Executive Order released today may be a watered-down version of the draconian draft we feared, but make no mistake: we have absolutely no reason to believe a more explicitly anti-LGBTQ action won't come at a future date", says Willard.

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