For many, it could define his Presidency. And it’s a decision that could come within the first month of his term.
A leak of an executive order on religious freedom indicates that President Trump is seriously considering actions that would roll back many of the Obama Administration’s assaults on religious freedom.
Generally, they’re concerned it would give individuals and religious organizations too much freedom. This article from the Daily Signal summarizes some of what it would do.
- Clarifies that religious exercise is more than worship: It tells the entire federal government to respect federal statutes and Supreme Court decisions that make clear the free exercise of religion applies to all people, of all faiths, in all places, and at all times—that it is not merely the freedom to worship.
- Clarifies that religious freedom is for more than just churches: It notes that religious organizations include all organizations operated by religious principles, not just houses of worship or charities. And it follows the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in saying that religious exercise “includes all aspects of religious observance and practice,” not just those absolutely required by a faith.
- Requires federal agencies to accommodate religious belief: It instructs all agencies of the federal government, “to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law,” to reasonably accommodate the religion of federal employees, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
- Orders relief for Little Sisters of the Poor: It instructs the secretaries of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury to finally grant relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor and others who weren’t exempted from the Obamacare abortifacient and contraception mandate.
- Requires availability of health insurance without abortion coverage: It instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that all citizens have the ability to purchase health care plans through Obamacare that do not cover abortion or subsidize plans that do.
- Prohibits discrimination against social service organizations because of their faith: It instructs the Secretary of Health and Human services to ensure that the federal government does not discriminate against child welfare providers, such as foster care and adoption services, based on an organization’s religious beliefs.
- Creates protections for religious organizations that contract with the government: It adopts the Russell Amendment and instructs all agencies of the federal government to provide protections and exemptions consistent with the Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act to all religious organizations that contract with the federal government or receive grants.
- Protects tax exempt status for religious organizations: It instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to ensure that it does not revoke nonprofit tax status because a religious organization’s ordinary religious speech deals with politics, or because it speaks or acts on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife, that a person’s sex is based on immutable biology, or that life begins at conception.
- Protects accreditation of religious institutions: It instructs all agencies of the federal government to refuse to recognize any decision by a federally recognized accrediting body that revokes or denies accreditation to an organization because of such beliefs.
- Protects federal employees from discrimination based on beliefs: It instructs all agencies that they may not take adverse action against federal employees, contractors, or grantees because of their speech about marriage outside of their employment, contract, or grant, and that agencies shall reasonably accommodate such beliefs inside of employment, contract, or grant.
While these protections would be a change from the Obama Administration’s posture on religious freedom, historically it would represent a return the mainstream.
All these protections in the executive order were more or less assumed prior to President Obama taking office and progressives believing they now had an inalienable right to make people do things they didn’t want to do in the name of ending “discrimination.”
While progressives have already labeled them as plans to “legalize discrimination“, they’re mostly a restatement of what religious freedom has always been understood to mean.
Namely, a place where people get to be who they are and the government doesn’t get to punish them for it.
You can be sure that progressives will be beating down the doors trying to convince the president not to make good on his campaign promises.
Which is exactly why he needs to hear from you. Call the White House and tell President Trump that you want him to fulfill his campaign promises and protect religious freedom. (202)-456-1414. Or send a message online at www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Then share this with your friends and encourage them to do the same.