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Trump to sign executive order on political limits for churches

06 May, 2017, 01:54 | Author: Eddie Kim

In a separate post, he explained that federal agencies like the IRS rarely take action against churches or religious groups which violate the Johnson Amendment as a matter of course, making Trump's order something of an empty gesture. "To me the separation of church and state is fundamental to our nation's identity and it concerns me".

Bookbinder has called charitable groups the "next frontier" in undisclosed political spending because without the Johnson amendment in the way, it'll be easy to start spending lots of money right away.

The American Civil Liberties Union threatened the Trump administration with a lawsuit when details of the executive order emerged Wednesday.

"Evangelicals emphasize evangelism, and pastors often avoid controversies that might take priority over the gospel message", said NAE President Leith Anderson in a statement about the poll.

The Rev. Danny Reed of the Unitarian Church in Charleston said his flock has never felt cowed by tax codes when it comes to political expression.

"Tim Schultz, the president of the First Amendment Partnership, which works with legislators at the state and national level on religious-liberty issues, told the Atlantic that the conservative reaction to the order would be mixed, especially because it leaves out protections for those who object to same-sex marriage".

The order also aims to allow employers to deny covering contraception for employers if that clashes with the religious beliefs of the bosses.

In a phone call shortly after the text of the order was made public, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow told NBC News she's concerned about Sessions being placed in charge of interpreting religious freedom in light of his anti-LGBT voting record as a senator.

The order also offers unspecified "regulatory relief" to groups - such as the Little Sisters of the Poor - that faced fines and other repercussions for defying an Obamacare mandate to provide contraceptives to their employees.

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"We're going to be mobilising millions of voters to turn out at the polls and vote their values", Butler said.

Baylor said directing the IRS not to enforce limits on political speech, while leaving the restrictions in place, still gives too much discretion to agents. The New York Times' Ross Douthat pithily argued that the White House has not properly ordered its religious freedom priorities.

However, another conservative religious liberty group that has been involved in the battles over transgender student rights, the Alliance Defending Freedom, expressed disappointment that the executive order did not go further.

Alveda King, who endorsed Trump and is a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., received one of the pens Trump used to sign the order. And the Pew Research Center found that such endorsements are relatively rare. The National Association of Evangelicals, or NAE, released a survey in March that showed that pastors overwhelmingly opposed endorsing candidates from the pulpit.

What does the order say? On Thursday, testifying on the law before a House subcommittee, Reform Rabbi David Saperstein said congregants could now pressure clergy into endorsing candidates, creating potential for divisiveness in congregations.

The church encourages members to be informed on issues and to be involved responsibly and civility in political processes, and it asks candidates and parties to not imply their candidacies or platforms have been endorsed by the church.

This act would allow pastors and religious non-profits to speak freely on all matters of life, including candidates and elections.

"Once down that path", he said, "painful pressure to endorse any congregant running for office arises".

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