There was a lot of hope leading up to yesterday’s executive order that Trump might actually keep his promise to take specific and deliberate action to protect religious liberty in America. Unfortunately, hope was replaced with hype, and the much-anticipated event ended up being nothing more than face time for the Reality TV President.
The Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty executive order supposedly deals with Trump’s campaign promise to revoke the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations (churches and other religious organizations) from endorsing or opposing political candidates or issues. But as we learn from Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor, it does nothing of the sort.
“ …the outline directs the IRS ‘to exercise maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment.’ But Americans cannot rely on the discretion of IRS agents, some of whom have abused that discretion for years to silence pastors and intrude into America’s pulpits. Nor does the outline do anything to prevent a future, hostile administration from wielding its power to penalize any church who dares exercise its constitutionally protected freedoms in a manner that displeases those in authority. A legislative problem like the Johnson Amendment demands a legislative solution like the Free Speech Fairness Act.
IRS discretion? As stated above, we can hardly rely on the IRS–or any other government agency for that matter–to properly operate using such vague authority. In fact, couldn’t it be argued that the IRS was using its “discretion” when it targeted conservative groups under Obama? Just sayin’
Trump’s executive order also states that it will “provide regulatory relief” for religious objectors to certain mandates under Obamacare (Aren’t we repealing Obamacare?). Again, this is incredibly vague language when you consider that a simple exception could be crafted to prevent cases such as the one involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group specifically mentioned by Trump as beneficiaries of his bogus executive order.
The biggest failure in Trump’s executive order is the absence of any action to protect Christian business owners from the vicious onslaught coming from the Gay Mafia and pro-LGBT radicals. In the original draft of the order released a few months ago, Trump indicated he would take steps to prevent situations like Sweet Cakes of Melissa–a Christian business brought to the brink of bankruptcy and forced to close for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual “marriage.”
The absence of this protection for Christian business owners isn’t really surprising. It was just a few months ago that Trump’s liberal-Democrat daughter Ivanka ordered Daddy to leave Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT “rights” for employees of government contractors in force. Ivanka’s decision was defended by V.P. Pence–VP in this case stands for “very pusillanimous”–and he was involved in helping to craft today’s executive order.
You may recall that a few years ago then-Governor Pence led the cowardly charge to neuter the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana after caving to the Gay Mafia. In the end, Indiana Christian business owners were legally required to violate their religious beliefs or risk criminal prosecution.
With Ivanka calling the shots in the White House, and Pence being a nothing more than a political opportunist masquerading as a Conservative Christian, the omission of protections for Christian bakers, photographers, florists, etc. is no accident.
Today’s executive order was supposed to be a big deal protecting freedom of religion and speech. Instead, it was a big nothing burger served with a side of lies.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles are also featured on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated via Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.