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Trumpís Executive Order Fails to Address Most Pressing Religious Liberty Threats
The Daily Signal ^ | May 4, 2017 | Ryan T. Anderson

Posted on 05/05/2017 6:00:17 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

President Donald Trump said he’d promote commonsense policies that would “Make America Great Again” and would stand up to politically correct bullying from the left.

So why isn’t he doing that in the case of religious freedom?

Twice now, he has failed to stand up for commonsense policy on religious liberty when liberal opponents lashed out against it.

Back in February, he caved to the protests of liberal special interest groups as he declined to issue an executive order on religious liberty that had been leaked to hostile press.

And earlier today, he issued an executive order on “free speech and religious liberty” that does not address the major threats to religious liberty in the United States today.

Today’s executive order is woefully inadequate. Trump campaigned promising Americans that he would protect their religious liberty rights and correct the violations that took place during the previous administration.

Trump’s election was about correcting problems of the last administration, including religious liberty violations and the hostility to people of faith in the United States. This order does not do that. It is a mere shadow of the original draft leaked in February.

As I explain in my new book from Oxford University Press, “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” religious liberty is a birthright of all Americans. And yet over recent years, Americans saw their religious liberty rights under assault as never before.

The Trump administration still has time to take meaningful action to reverse those trends, so that all Americans may seek out and serve God and their neighbors according to their own convictions, not the government’s.

All Americans will benefit from the protections that Trump could issue. Congress should also act to make these protections permanent, so a future administration cannot easily undo them.

All Americans should remain free to worship God, serve the poor, educate the next generation, and run a business, all in accordance with their religious beliefs—whatever those religious beliefs happen to be. We should all be subject to the same legal standard: Government can only substantially burden the free exercise of religion if it is acting to advance a compelling government interest pursued in the least restrictive way possible.

Media reports from Tuesday said that today’s executive order was going to provide meaningful protections: “one influential conservative who saw the text said it hasn’t been dialed back much—if at all—since the February leak. ‘The language is very, very strong,’ the source said.”

In reality, what Trump issued today is rather weak. All it includes is general language about the importance of religious liberty, saying the executive branch “will honor and enforce” existing laws and instructing the Department of Justice to “issue guidance” on existing law; directives to the Department of the Treasury to be lenient in the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment; and directives to the secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to “consider issuing amended regulations” to “address conscience-based objections” to the HHS contraception mandate.

But the federal government should be honoring and enforcing our religious liberty laws anyway, legislation is required to actually address the Johnson Amendment—which isn’t the prime priority on religious liberty—and the Supreme Court has already unanimously instructed the federal government to resolve the case of Little Sisters of the Poor and other HHS mandate cases.

By contrast, the February draft—a version of which was originally planned for today according to media reports—made good on many of the president’s promises to protect religious liberty from government penalties.

That draft protected the religious liberty rights of all Americans in very tailored ways that addressed the problems of today.

>>> For more on this, see Ryan T. Anderson’s new book from Oxford University Press, “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination.”

The earlier version ensured that the government would not discriminate against beliefs that are under assault, and protected religious organizations’ right to maintain their mission and identity in their staffing decisions and programming, while not losing the ability to partner with the government.

The previous draft of the executive order also provided specific protections to undo some of the worst of liberal overreach.

It would have finally and fully protected Americans from having to violate their consciences under the Obamacare abortifacient and contraception mandate. It would have protected the ability of all Americans to buy health care that doesn’t cover or subsidize abortion.

And it would have protected all Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife from federal government penalties or coercion.

These protections would take nothing away from anyone. They simply would ensure that the public square remains open to all religious voices, even when those voices diverge from the government’s view on contested questions. They would protect diversity, pluralism, and tolerance.

None of this should be objectionable—which makes you wonder why liberals objected, except to continue the denunciation of “deplorables” that offended Americans of good will last year.

There is still time for Trump to make good on his promises. He can still issue an executive order based on that February draft, and then Congress can act to make those provisions permanent.

Congress could start by passing the Russell Amendment, the Conscience Protection Act, and the First Amendment Defense Act. Trump promised to sign into law both the Conscience Protection Act and the First Amendment Defense Act.

Trump promised while on the campaign trail that he would robustly defend religious freedom from pressing threats. Today, he didn’t make good on that promise. But he still can, and should.

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TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; conscience; executiveorder; freedom; liberty; religion; religiousliberty; trump
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The E.O. that apparently is a non-E.O.
1 posted on 05/05/2017 6:00:17 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

#NeverHappyEver...Never mind, Trump put Gorsuch on the Supreme Court to protect religious freedom.


2 posted on 05/05/2017 6:02:21 PM PDT by Kazan
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Ivanka and Jarrad got to him first. They are going to be his ruin if he doesnt start to respond better to the social conservatives who put him in office. Today we lost from consideration a Christian conservative potential nominee for Secretary of the Army. Homosexuals and Muslims squeeled and he withdrew from consideration after getting little public support from the McCain/Graham husband/wife team and no comments of support from the White House.


3 posted on 05/05/2017 6:06:44 PM PDT by Uncle Sam 911
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To: Uncle Sam 911

Yes!! It is the Juuuss!! The Juuuss ruin everything!


4 posted on 05/05/2017 6:09:06 PM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR)
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To: Uncle Sam 911
. They are going to be his ruin if he doesnt start to respond better to the social conservatives who put him in office.

BS. If he keeps making Supreme Court nominations like Neil Gorsuch, social conservatives will be thrilled with him. That is the primary issue involving religious freedom -- putting judges on courts that uphold the First Amendment and will oveturn Roe.

5 posted on 05/05/2017 6:10:58 PM PDT by Kazan
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Ryan, I don’t know you from a turd in the toilet, but I have grown to know and understand Donald Trump.

If he didn’t push for more at this time, he has his reasons, and it’s probably to eventually do better than you would think.

This is how he works. All I know about you is that you complain.


6 posted on 05/05/2017 6:13:55 PM PDT by ConservativeMind (Trump: Befuddling Democrats, Republicans, and the Media for the benefit of the US and all mankind.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

All of these Trump haters can vote for Clinton, the next time. Then, see if their prayers are answered.


7 posted on 05/05/2017 6:23:40 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (100+ days without Hilliarly/Huma as POTUS! Thanks, President Trump for this great reality!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Ryan, you are never going to get what you want if you cannot tell people in straightforward simple English what it is you want.

After reading this I haven't a clue what your issue is other than you want something that Trump did not give you. I would love to know what that is.

Right now you just sound like another spewing #Nevertrumper

8 posted on 05/05/2017 6:24:07 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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Trump just did more for religious freedom than any president has dared to in the past couple of decades. And people STILL bitch that he didn’t do enough.


9 posted on 05/05/2017 6:24:23 PM PDT by proust (Trump / Pence 2016!)
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To: Kazan

He may have the same thought I have about trying to regulate the religious issue. It is part of our Constitution and it matters who is on the S.C. But there is a danger in directly giving E.Os. on religious freedom because of the Muslims. They would use it to their advantage as they do all of our laws. Keeping the court conservative is our only hope against Islam. They have a bad habit of using our laws against us.


10 posted on 05/05/2017 6:32:10 PM PDT by WVNan
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The author lacks credibility to pontificate on President Trump's executive orders.

For my part, my conscience is more important to me than the outcome of this presidential election. I cannot in good conscience vote for either Clinton or Trump. What matters for me is that I cannot bring myself to intend, to will the victory of either of these ludicrously unacceptable presidential candidates.
11 posted on 05/05/2017 6:35:59 PM PDT by af_vet_1981 (The bus came by and I got on, That's when it all began.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

“The E.O. that apparently is a non-E.O.”

Did you really expect President Trump to fix 50 years of leftism in 100 days? I’m still waiting for you to answer my question about Texas property rights along the proposed Mexican-Texas highway. You were sure hopped up about it seven years ago.

Answer my question...


12 posted on 05/05/2017 6:36:36 PM PDT by sergeantdave (FR has now established two groups - warriors vs wimps)
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To: af_vet_1981

Wrong author;
Matthew J. Franck is the Author and
Ryan T. Anderson is Editor


13 posted on 05/05/2017 6:59:26 PM PDT by af_vet_1981 (The bus came by and I got on, That's when it all began.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Wrong author for my link, so who knows how Ryan T. Anderson voted; Franck did not vote for Trump;
Matthew J. Franck is the Author and Ryan T. Anderson is Editor
14 posted on 05/05/2017 7:00:43 PM PDT by af_vet_1981 (The bus came by and I got on, That's when it all began.)
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To: Grampa Dave

I don’t think wanting Trump to stand up to the alt-left makes someone a Trump-hater.


15 posted on 05/05/2017 7:25:32 PM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: Kazan

Great points. Calling up the Little Sister’s at the EO signing ceremony was not a small thing either. It shows intention too.


16 posted on 05/05/2017 7:46:30 PM PDT by Shark24
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To: AndyJackson
Ryan, you are never going to get what you want if you cannot tell people in straightforward simple English what it is you want.

After reading this I haven't a clue what your issue is other than you want something that Trump did not give you. I would love to know what that is.

Yep, my thought exactly. Clickbait to get you to read all his other, probably just as poorly written articles.

17 posted on 05/05/2017 7:50:56 PM PDT by Hugin (Conservatism without Nationalism is a fraud.)
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To: proust

And people STILL bitch that he didn’t do enough.

***

Of course they do. They wanted Yeb! or Lyin’ Ted. If Donald Trump personally overturned Roe, they’d be screaming that he betrayed us because he didn’t send in the army to carpet bomb PP clinics.

It’s not about conservatism; it’s about pique and butthurt, nothing more.


18 posted on 05/05/2017 8:40:28 PM PDT by Luircin
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I see you woke the concern trolls up. He kept the EO simple because he needs the Congress to do its job and if he tried to ‘fix it all” via EO, some Federal “Judge” would smear crap on a paper and call it reason to stop the EO.


19 posted on 05/06/2017 3:55:33 AM PDT by trebb (Where in the the hell has my country gone?)
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To: Kazan

That’s our hope that he does that but where are his nominations for the lower courts? Many vacancies, few nominations.


20 posted on 05/06/2017 4:55:01 AM PDT by Uncle Sam 911
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