Political Editors / May 4, 2017

Trump Seeks to Protect Religious Freedom

He will sign an executive order aimed at promoting religious liberty and undoing the damage Obama did.

It’s no coincidence that on this National Day of Prayer Donald Trump will be signing an executive order designed to reverse Barack Obama’s stifling of religious freedom. It’s widely anticipated that Trump’s order will also roll back the Johnson Amendment, which forbids tax-exempt organizations such as churches from engaging in political activities. “Politicians and unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t have the power to shut up their critics,” a White House official stated. The president “thinks that’s intolerant and un-American.”

Trump is to be commended for seeking to undo Obama’s abuses. While the Left will claim this opens the door to discrimination of those in the homosexual “community,” the reality is a question of precedent. In other words, whose rights are sovereign? The answer clearly established by the First Amendment is the free exercise of religion. Under Obama there was a push not only to limit religious expression in public, but also to define what was to be “morally” acceptable and force concession. This was not only a violation of religious freedom, it was a violation of free speech. Barring extreme conditions, it is not for the government to dictate what ideas or thoughts regarding religious beliefs are appropriate and acceptable.

Attorney Stuart Lark said of the announcement, “Our country has a long history of protecting religious organizations from laws that substantially burden their ability to act in accordance with their beliefs. These protections foster pluralism and minimize the impact of government action on private religious choices, and in so doing they advance core principles underlying the First Amendment. To the extent the executive order expands these protections, it will be a welcome development for the many diverse faith communities in this country.”

So, on this Day of Prayer, take a moment to thank God for the freedoms we have to freely worship and follow our religious convictions, and for leaders who stand to defend these freedoms.

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