Tags: justice department | religion | tax | becket fund

Faith Leaders: Justice Dept. Targeting Religious Liberty

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Trump has decreed a friendlier administration attitude toward religious organizations. (AP)

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Friday, 25 August 2017 08:44 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Less than four months ago, as the president was flanked by delighted faith leaders, he signed executive orders protecting religious liberty and declared that “people of faith” would be protected from government harassment.

But last week, at least one of those faith leaders voiced disappointment that the Department of Justice had completely ignored Trump’s orders.

Specifically, the Justice Department had filed briefs to defend legal challenges from the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that required employers to provide health plans that cover the cost of contraceptives.

In addition, the Department of Justice is siding with the Johnson Amendment, the provision in the tax code introduced by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, in the 1950s. Under the amendment, churches and religious groups that enjoy tax-exempt status are prohibited from engaging in political activities.

Montse Alvarado, executive director of the pro-religious liberty Becket Fund, told The Hill earlier this week that “when the president of the country tells you in person that the mandate was wrong and your case is over, you would expect his lawyers to give up the fight.”

Newsmax asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday whether the president was aware of the complaints that his executive orders were being violated by the Justice Department.

“I am not sure if he’s aware of the complaints or any specific places where it is being ignored,” Sanders told me. “So I probably have to talk to our friends at HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] specific to the contraception clause.”

For its part, the Justice Department has insisted it is not violating the president’s orders but must defend existing regulations when they are challenged in court.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Less than four months ago, as the president was flanked by delighted faith leaders, he signed executive orders protecting religious liberty and declared that “people of faith” would be protected from government harassment.
justice department, religion, tax, becket fund
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2017-44-25
Friday, 25 August 2017 08:44 AM
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