May 03, 2018

Today at a National Day of Prayer ceremony, President Donald Trump, with his Evangelical Advisory Board at his side, will sign an executive order to further entrench policies to allow religion to discriminate.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State says this executive order will not protect religious freedom, but trample it.

“Our government should protect religious freedom, not use it as a sword to harm others,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. “Our country is strongest when we are all free to believe, or not, as we see fit and to practice our faith without hurting others.”

Sources report that the executive order will create the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative and establish a network of offices and liaisons across the entire federal government. The offices and liaisons will ensure that faith-based organizations “have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government.” They will also serve as watchdogs and ensure that every agency adheres to the administration’s policies of using religion to discriminate.

This executive order furthers implements this plan, which was first set in motion at last year’s National Day of Prayer. Since then, the Trump administration has created policies and weighed in on court cases to further this harmful agenda, aimed most squarely at LGBTQ people and women. With today’s order, the administration now seeks to enlist the entire government to do so.

“For the second year in a row, President Trump is using the National Day of Prayer to divide and discriminate,” explained Laser. “Today’s order is one more attempt by Trump, cheered by his Evangelical Advisory Board, to redefine religious freedom to mean the freedom to discriminate against those who do not share your religious beliefs. It boils down to religious freedom for all versus religious freedom for a select few.”  

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.