Today is the ‘National Day of Prayer’ in the US, a country where you can already pray anytime, anywhere, to any god you want already. Coincidentally, Trump signed an executive order today allowing churches to be more political. This is a direct attack on the separation of church and state, Johnson Amendment (something that isn’t enforced in the first place) be damned.
The Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty also aims to make it easier for employers with religious objections not to include contraception coverage in workers’ health care plans, although it would be up to federal agencies to determine how that would happen.
Employers do not have a right to your medical history, and do not have a right to make decisions regarding your healthcare. There is no logically consistent argument to the contrary. It’s not a stretch for a company with Jehovah’s Witness “morals” to make an argument justifying why they shouldn’t have to pay for their employees to receive certain medical procedures, like blood transfusions.
“For too long the federal government has used the state as a weapon against people of faith,” Trump said, later telling the religious leaders gathered for the event that “you’re now in a position to say what you want to say … No one should be censoring sermons or targeting pastors.”
“We will not allow people of faith to be bullied, targeted, or silenced any more… it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty.”
The First Amendment provides the “vigorous” religious liberty you’re looking for. This is like saying “I want to vigorously promote breathing” – it’s nonsensical as it’s something you can already do. Theists are not being bullied or silenced. You don’t need a new order to re-affirm something that already exists, unless of course you’re doing so specifically to pander to your constituency.
What irks me the most about this is the faux appeal to promoting free speech. Nobody is censoring leaders of churches. Just like all non-profit organizations, if churches want to politically opine, all they have to do is forfeit their non-profit status and pay taxes. That’s not censorship, that’s protecting our democracy from allowing religious institutions to influence elections more than they already do. That’s preventing politicians from pouring money into churches to get the church leadership to openly endorse a candidate to their congregation.
Just like any other non-profit, it is illegal for a pastor to use their position of authority within a church to endorse a candidate.
This is Christian Sharia.