Trump Signs 'Religious Liberty' Order, ACLU Calls It Discriminatory

The bill extends religious exemptions to government employees and members of organizations.
Posted at 12:13 PM, May 04, 2017

President Donald Trump signed a new so-called "religious liberty" executive order that will greatly broaden what people can opt out of due to religious exemptions.

Trump said it will let people practice their faith more openly. 

The bill extends religious exemptions to government employees and members of organizations like private companies. That means those people can opt out of their job functions if they feel it conflicts with their beliefs.

The ACLU has called the measure a "license to discriminate." It believes the measure will allow people to refuse services to members of the LGBTQ community.

It could also allow some organizations to deny certain medical coverage if they think it would be used to cover an abortion or other procedures they disagree with.

The order is a big win for Vice President Mike Pence, a staunch social conservative. He passed a similar measure while governor of Indiana, but he added LGBTQ protections after heavy criticism.

The order also makes changes to the Johnson Amendment, a measure that bars religious organizations, which are tax exempt, from supporting political candidates. 

Dozens of religious organizations sent a letter to Congress in support of the Johnson Amendment, telling the legislature: "Do not politicize our houses of worship."

They also expressed the fear that houses of worship could spring up with the purpose of funneling money to political candidates.

Trump signed the order on the National Day of Prayer.