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7 Trump Actions Evangelicals Did Not Like

4. 'Nothing-burger' Religious freedom order

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President Donald Trump signs an executive order on religious liberty at the White House, May 4, 2017. |

President Trump's May executive order promoting free speech and religious freedom was widely supported by many evangelical and social conservative leaders, and was included on CP's list of "7 Trump Accomplishments That Evangelicals Like." Some conservatives, however, were critical of the order.

Considering that one of Trump's major campaign promises to evangelicals was to abolish or "destroy" the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prevents churches and nonprofits from engaging in political campaigning, some conservatives expressed skepticism after Trump signed the executive order, considering that it did not (nor could it) abolish the congressionally passed Johnson Amendment. Last week, Congress failed to repeal the Johnson Amendment in its tax bill. 

Critics at the time also voiced concern that the order didn't even provide concrete religious exemptions for religious organizations to an Obamacare contraception mandate and only called on the Department of Health and Human Services to "consider" providing such an exemption.

In a tweet, National Review columnist David French referred to the order as a "nothing-burger of a religious liberty EO."

In an analysis, Gregory Baylor, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom law firm, stated that the order left Trump's campaign promises on religious liberty "unfulfilled."

Even the American Civil Liberties Union considered the signing of the executive order at the White House on the National Day of Prayer as nothing more than a photo opportunity for evangelical leaders across the country gathered at Rose Garden.

It should be noted that Trump's executive order preceded concrete actions to protect religious freedom, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions' religious freedom guidance and the move to grant religious exemptions to the Obamacare mandate in October.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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