Trump Eases Political Activity by Religious Organizations


But the president’s message of support for religious institutions — delivered on the National Day of Prayer — fell far short of what conservative faith leaders were expecting from Mr. Trump and his administration.

Those leaders, some of whom were in the audience for Mr. Trump’s announcement, were expecting a broadly worded executive order that would free religious institutions from Obama-era regulations intended to protect gays, lesbians and others from discrimination. Such an order could have given religious-based adoption agencies, hospice providers and housing programs that receive federal funds more leeway to refuse to provide services.

But the president’s order makes no mention of sexual orientation or identity, officials said. Instead, the order provides a only a vague promise that it is the policy of Mr. Trump’s administration to protect religious liberty, with no mention of how it intends to do that.

White House officials say the order does indicate that federal agencies will work to resolve concerns among some religious institutions about Affordable Care Act regulations that require them to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception, which they say violates their religious beliefs.

“We know all too well the attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor, incredible nuns who care for the sick,” Mr. Trump said, referring to one organization that protested the health care requirement.

“Your long ordeal will soon be over, O.K.?” the president said. “It’s been a long, hard ordeal.”

But the order does not make clear how the government will resolve those concerns. There is already a process by which religious organizations can request a waiver from the contraception requirements, but some groups say the process for providing the contraceptive services with a waiver still violates their beliefs.

Continue reading the main storySource: New York Times – Politics



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