Trump is set to celebrate Natgional Day Prayer by signing an executive order allowing what the Trump administration is calling ‘greater religious liberty’ while critics say it will open the door to discrimination based on religion. According to leaks the order will include:
- Require all federal departments and agencies to respect 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—and that it is not merely the freedom to worship.
- That religious organizations include all organizations operated by religious principles, not just houses of worship or charities.
- Instructs agencies, “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.
- Instructs the secretaries of health and human services, labor, and treasury to finally grant relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor and others not exempted from Obamacare mandates on contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
- Ensure that consumers buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges have the option to buy plans that don’t cover abortion or subsidize plans that do.
- Prohibits the federal government from discriminating against child welfare providers, such as foster care and adoption services, based on the organization’s religious beliefs.
- Adopts the Russell Amendment, instructing agencies to allow religious organizations to hire in accordance with their faith principles.
- Effectively rolls back the Johnson Amendment by instructing the Treasury Department to ensure that it doesn’t revoke nonprofit tax status because a religious group speaks on politics.
- Instructs agencies to refuse to recognize any decision by a federally recognized accrediting body that revokes or denies accreditation to an organization because of religious beliefs.
- Instructs agencies not to take adverse action against federal employees, contractors, or grantees who express their belief on marriage outside of their employment, contract or grant; and that agencies should reasonably accommodate such beliefs inside of employment, contract, or grant. (source)
The order, if signed, will provide legal protections for people who are opposed to abortion, pre-marital sex, same-sex marriage and so on. The order is worded so one could indiscriminate for a wide gamut of reasons and hide behind religious freedom. Legal experts do doubt the act’s ability to withstand legal scrutiny:
“This executive order would appear to require agencies to provide extensive exemptions from a staggering number of federal laws—without regard to whether such laws substantially burden religious exercise,” said Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom.
The exemptions, Lederman said, could themselves violate federal law or license individuals and private parties to violate federal law. “Moreover,” he added, “the exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions, as well, because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations.” It would be “astonishing,” he said, “if the Office of Legal Counsel certifies the legality of this blunderbuss order.” (source)
Still however the leaked draft makes discrimination legal and it could effect everyone. Religious conservatives are the biggest hypocrites in modern culture and their leader Trump is pandering to them again. Political moves like this are the reason why all freethinkers must continue to fight religious fundamentalism. Educate, write letters, protest, blog, tweet…whatever it is you do because political moves like this effect everyone and only please the most backwards thinking of modern culture.