Wisconsin-based atheist group sues Trump over church order

The order, signed during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the Internal Revenue Service to exercise "maximum enforcement discretion" over the so-called Johnson amendment, which prevents churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

President Trump signed an executive order today, easing the religious liberty and free speech restrictions placed upon 501c3 non-profit churches and other organizations.

"We're very concerned that this order is going to erode that separation of church and state that has worked well for our country for its history", Ott said.

"(The order) essentially repeats what the IRS has done in practice", Samek said. He said it would protect Americans' religious freedom from government interference.

"And once again this administration has taken another step down a unsafe slippery slope, undermining safeguards against discrimination and the intrusion of partisan politics into our faith communities and other aspects of civic life created to serve the needs of all of the American public".

Like conservatives, we see Trump's executive order as a first step. Lyndon Johnson. It bars tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing candidates.

"It means that there might be some, because not every pastor is flawless, who might use this freedom to push forward political agenda, might take it as an opportunity to give themselves more power in the community", Matteson said.

As the IRS website states, nonprofit organizations are "absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office".

Writing at Take Care, Georgetown University Law Center professor Marty Lederman called the order "modest" and predicted it will have little practical effect on policy.

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"Once again, stories about a Trump "anti-LGBT executive order" were total nonsense", Gregory T. Angelo told CNN.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump marked the National Day of Prayer by signing an executive order that muddies the water that should separate church from state.

The executive order pledges to "vigorously enforce Federal law's robust protections for religious freedom".

"America has a rich tradition of social change beginning in our pews and our pulpits", Trump said in front of an audience of religious leaders Thursday.

"It appears we may now have that opportunity, so that may change things". Under my administration, free speech does not end at the steps of a cathedral or a synagogue or any other house of worship. The provision is written in the tax code and would require an act of Congress to repeal fully.

People of faith, Trump said, will not be "targeted, bullied or silenced anymore".

The order's health care provision could apply to groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who run more than two dozen nursing homes for impoverished seniors, and have moral objections to paying the birth control costs of women in their health plans.

And it is also unclear how far the Trump administration will go in allowing businesses with direct religious ties or private businesses that claim to be faith-influenced in denying contraception coverage. Churches could become major factors in the financing of political campaigns and conduits for unaccountable special-interest political contributions.

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