Donald Trump signs executive order promoting free speech and religious liberty

The order relaxes IRS enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organizations like churches from political speech and activities.

But pastors are already free to deliver political speeches, and regularly do.

President Trump issued an executive order on religious liberty.

In addition, the order calls for unspecified "regulatory relief" for religious objectors to the Obama administration mandate that required contraception services as part of health plans.

Evangelical Christian leader Russell Moore said the order is "more symbolic than substantive".

Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, said that the language of the executive order was too soft and that it "fails to address most pressing religious liberty threats". "I know you'll only say good", Trump said, after unveiling the order. The federal government, he said, will never ever penalize someone for their religious beliefs.

ACLU, however, did not believe that any such step had been taken by the president. The U.S. Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. had previously determined that the preventive care mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Critics charge that while President Trump's executive order targets the Johnson Amendment, only Congress can formally repeal it. It allows churches and other religious and charitable organizations to carry out political action without worrying about losing their tax-exempt status.

The official emphasized that the order would not change existing law.

Legal experts said the order would not have a discernible effect on policy. "Faith is deeply embedded into the history of our country, the spirit of our founding and the soul of our nation", Trump said at a National Day of Prayer event with religious leaders and White House staff.

The third section gives "religious liberty guidance" to all agencies, notifying them about the conscience protections provided under federal law, according to World.

"This is neither what religious freedom means in the eyes of the law, nor what religion itself means to millions of Americans of faith".

"In America, we do not fear people speaking freely from the pulpit, we embrace it. America has a rich tradition of social change beginning in our pews and our pulpits".

"If Trump singles out just churches from this prohibition, he's showing favoritism", she says.

Trump is on record as saying that he wants to "totally destroy the Johnson Amendment". But he has concerns about mixing politics and religion.

"For decades, the Johnson amendment has prevented houses of worship from being turned into partisan political tools". Do you support or oppose them?

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