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Little Sisters of the Poor approve Trump order on religion

President Donald Trump said he wants to make it easier for churches to endorse political candidates, signing an executive order Thursday that allows that action now prohibited by the federal tax code. The most significant portion of the order would direct the Internal Revenue Service to "exercise maximum enforcement discretion" in enforcing the Johnson amendment, which restricts religious groups from endorsing political candidates without risking their tax-exempt status.

Instead, the order prevents the IRS from expanding its restrictions on political activity by religious groups. "We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore". We must never infringe on the noble tradition of change from the church and progress from the pew.

His words drew some skepticism and criticism in light of his ban on Muslims traveling into the United States and his insistence on building a wall along the border with Mexico. And this religious liberty advocate says the order is "worse than useless".

ANDERSON: It's unclear why the executive order didn't contain the language that was in the leaked draft of the executive order back in February.

"It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, 'The God who gave us life gave us liberty", said Trump at the breakfast. "And once again this administration has taken another step down a risky slippery slope, undermining safeguards against discrimination and the intrusion of partisan politics into our faith communities and other aspects of civic life created to serve the needs of all of the American public".

The order does not seem to include a measure that would allow organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs, as it had been thought it might.

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"President Trump's executive order today seeks to allow even more employers to deny their employees this necessary health care service under the guise of their personal religious views", Adrienne Mansanares, Chief Experience Officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said.

"After careful review of the order's text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process", the statement said.

"Today's executive order will not affect that longstanding policy".

An adjustment to the Internal Revenue Code - which was adjusted in 1986 but continued to include Johnson Amendment - would require an act of Congress, but Trump can influence how it is enforced. "The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections".

Reverend Jeffry Starkovich, pastor of St. Henry Catholic Church, says the amendment was never really a concern.

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