President Trump signs religious liberty executive order

U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to sign the Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty during the National Day of Prayer event at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., U.S., May 4, 2017.

Specifically, the executive order protects religious groups from a restriction imposed by the IRS that prohibits tax-exempt organizations, like churches and other religious institutions, from political speech and involvement. The federal government, he said, will never ever penalize someone for their religious beliefs.

His words drew some skepticism and criticism in light of his ban on Muslims traveling into the United States and his insistence on building a wall along the border with Mexico.

The order also directs the Department of Justice to ensure religious protections are afforded to individuals and groups, such as Little Sisters of the Poor... Supposed leaks from within his administration showed that part of the order may still adversely affect the LGBT community.

"We'd certainly like to keep the rights that we presently have, or at least the rights that we did have up until recently when we were challenged", says The Catholic League's Bill Donahue.

Trump's language stood in contrast to certain steps his administration has taken to bar entry to citizens from some Muslim-majority nations and his campaign trail vows to stop all Muslims from entering the country.

Religious discrimination is barred by the US Constitution.

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"President Trump's executive order today seeks to allow even more employers to deny their employees this necessary health care service under the guise of their personal religious views", Adrienne Mansanares, Chief Experience Officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said.

"With this executive order we are ending the attacks on your religious liberty, and we are proudly re-affirming America's leadership role as a nation that protects religious freedom for everyone", he said.

Trump's order targets the Johnson Amendment - sponsored by then-Sen.

"These are two very, very special executive orders", said Trump.

Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump's evangelical advisory board who was at the signing ceremony, said that Christian conservatives are being "unrealistic" for thinking that Trump can solve all religious liberty issues in one executive order.

"This action will jeopardize women's health, equity and economic security by instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to effectively roll back a critical provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires coverage of women's preventive health benefits", Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement.

  • Sonia Alvarado