President Trump signs executive order allowing religious groups to have bigger role in politics

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — President trump used the power of his office Thursday to give religious groups and other non-profits the chance to play a bigger role in politics.

The president signed the order while surrounded by religious leaders from different faiths.

With a stroke of his pen, President Trump’s new executive order will allow religious groups and other non profits to take a more active and a more vocal role in politics.

Pastor Dan Grant from the Skyline Church in East County says the president is now affording faith leaders the freedom to speak.

Under current law, churches and other groups can openly promote a political candidate or issue, but in doing so, the internal revenue service could revoke their tax-exempt status.

The president’s order does not wipe out the so-called "Johnson Amendment," only congress has the power to repeal the provision, but the order tells the IRS that it doesn’t have to enforce the ban on bringing politics into the pews.

Many of the people attending a prayer luncheon in El Cajon were applauding the president’s order.

Political analyst John Dadian says he’s been impressed by what the president’s decisions so far.

Some congressional democrats are already sounding the alarm,saying the repeal of the Johnson Amendment might allow tax exempt churches and other groups to skirt campaign finance laws, using charities as shells to fund political campaigns.

The American Civil Liberties Union was also quick to criticize, saying the order from the white house will enable private employers to use religion as license to deny reproductive health care to their employees. 

The ACLU’s executive director says "President Trump’s efforts to promote religious freedom are thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate." 

Wendy Patrick who lectures on ethics at the San Diego State’s school of business believes the president’s order won’t bring too much too change to the way churches address secular issues.

Categories: Local San Diego News