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President Trump Signs Executive Order Protecting Religious Liberty and Free Speech

President Trump Signs Executive Order Protecting Religious Liberty and Free Speech

The group wants the court to declare that it gives preferential treatment to churches and halt the IRS from implementing it.

"We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore", Trump said about the order while marking the National Day of Prayer, CNN reports.

"It's been happening", he said.

Trump's order would prohibit the Treasury Department from taking any "adverse action" against churches or religious organizations for political speech.

Pastor Cowart says nothing will change at his church since he's already been openly speaking every Sunday, but he says the president's executive order is a symbolic step in the direction he's been fighting for. And this religious liberty advocate says the order is "worse than useless".

"We are giving churches their voices back", Trump said during the ceremony at the White House. The most significant portion of the order would direct the Internal Revenue Service to "exercise maximum enforcement discretion" in enforcing the Johnson amendment, which restricts religious groups from endorsing political candidates without risking their tax-exempt status.

The order also promises "regulatory relief" for groups with religious objections to the preventive services requirement in the Affordable Care Act, according to a White House official.

While an earlier draft of the religious liberty order reportedly would have let federal contractors discriminate against LGBT employees based on faith beliefs, today's version did not include such provisions. Metcalf-Armstrong said although the order stops short allowing groups and businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community- the overall vagueness of the executive order could be risky.

More news: Italy gets Google to pay $335 million in tax arrears

"Today my administration is leading by example as we take historic steps to protect religious liberty in the United States of America", the president said Thursday as he signed the order.

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Numerous religious leaders News 5 spoke with on Thursday from local churches, Focus on the Family, the Colorado Catholic Conference and the Family Policy Alliance all say, this is a positive step in the right direction for our community.

"President Trump's prior assertion that he wished to "totally destroy" the Johnson Amendment with this order has proven to be a textbook case of 'fake news'".

During his campaign, Trump promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

The executive order makes no mention of any such provision, much to the dismay of conservative religious leaders, who believe the president has ignored the wishes of his most fervent supporters.

Only one church has ever lost its tax-exempt status because of the Johnson Amendment, and it actually had nothing to do with a sermon.

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