Some religious conservatives are disappointed in President Trump’s most recent executive order to protect religious liberty, saying that it does nothing to help with what they see as growing hostility to their religious beliefs on sexuality and marriage.
According to Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, Trump’s order “does not address the major threats to religious liberty in the United States today.” He charges that the president “failed to stand up for common-sense policy on religious liberty when liberal opponents lashed out against it.”
Religious conservatives are seeking protection in ongoing disputes with the LGBT community. In one particular case, Michigan meat plant owner Donald Vander Boon could lose his business because he displayed pamphlets explaining his conservative views on marriage in an employee break room. However, the Alliance Defending Freedom says that the order provides “no specific relief” to such businesses.
Religious groups concerned with Obamacare provisions regarding mandates to provide contraception in employer-sponsored health insurance plans were unhappy to find that the Trump executive order only directs federal agencies to “consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.”
The executive order was also focused specifically on weakening the “Johnson Amendment,” which affects the tax-exempt status of religious leaders who speak about political matters and endorse political candidates. Critics say that the law has never been rigorously enforced and is not an issue that’s been a particular problem in contrast to the other issues.
Some conservatives are concerned that the president’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who are believed to be sympathetic to the cause of gay rights, may be influencing the president to water down the goals to uphold religious liberty in America in deference to LGBT groups.
Others are defending the order by pointing out that the president has just begun the process and needs more time to refine laws to protect religious freedom in America. According to one White House official, “The president believes religious organizations have been unfairly targeted, but the president wants to make sure the reverse doesn’t happen, so great care was taken to make sure this was tightly defined.”
“This is a multistep process that will lead to accomplishing all our religious freedom objectives,” said Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council.
Tweeting out his dissatisfaction, Princeton professor Robert George called the religious liberty executive order “meaningless” and considers it a “betrayal.”
The religious liberty executive order is meaningless. No substantive protections for conscience. A betrayal. Ivanka and Jared won. We lost. https://t.co/Xn94KWTKPX
— Robert P. George (@McCormickProf) May 4, 2017
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