Trump on Thursday plans to relax enforcement of rules barring tax-exempt churches from participating in politics as part of a much-anticipated executive order on religious liberties, according to senior White House officials.Irrespective of whether Trump's erosion of the Johnson Amendment would survive a court challenge, his message is abundantly clear: This administration will do everything it can to enable social conservative Christians to legally discriminate against people they don't like, and everything it can to uphold Christian Supremacy.
The order will also offer unspecified "regulatory relief" for religious objectors to an Obama administration mandate — already scaled back by the courts — that required contraception services as part of health plans, the officials said.
...In addition to the two policy changes, the order will also provide a blanket statement that "it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty."
As a candidate and shortly after taking office, Trump declared he would "totally destroy" what's known as the Johnson Amendment, a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.
The provision is written in the tax code and would require an act of Congress to repeal fully.
A White House official said Trump would instead direct the Internal Revenue Service to "exercise maximum enforcement discretion of the prohibition." Such a direction could be subject to legal challenge and would not necessarily extend beyond a Trump presidency.
What a perfect message on the "National Day of Prayer."
UPDATE: He signed it, following disgusting remarks by him and Pence.
The "religious liberty" EO Trump just signed allows employers not to cover birth control, so another blow to healthcare.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 4, 2017
And the contraceptive part is only the most explicit piece of it. This will still be used to justify all manner of discrimination.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 4, 2017
Pence learned in Indiana how to craft language to make it as hard to challenge in court as possible, while doing maximum amount of damage.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) May 4, 2017