President Trump signing an executive order on religious freedom
The announcement was made this morning in the Rose Garden. Soon after Trump signed the order, the ACLU responded: "We will see Trump in court".

President Trump marked the National Day of Prayer by signing an executive order making it easier for churches to take an active role in politics. The order gives churches much wider leeway to engage in political speech and endorse specific candidates.

"We are giving our churches their voices back," Trump said. "Faith is deeply embedded into the history of our country, the spirit of our founding and the soul of our nation. We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore."

The idea of churches endorsing political candidates has long been a controversial issue in the religious community eliciting strong opinions from those on both sides of the debate.

Fighting the IRS RuleAn American flag hanging in a church

For decades, under an IRS rule known as the Johnson Amendment, churches have been prevented from endorsing political candidates. A violation of this rule may cause a church to lose its tax-exempt status, so pastors must tread carefully when bringing up politics in their sermons. Explicitly telling parishioners how to vote can result in a visit from the IRS.

Some faith leaders say the rule squashes free expression of ideas, and have been fighting to get it changed for years. After today's announcement, they are applauding.

"The open season on Christians and other people of faith is coming to a close in America and we look forward to assisting the Trump administration in fully restoring America's First Freedom," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative faith group Family Research Council.

Clergy Not Convinced

Interestingly, many clergy members say they have no interest in getting involved with politics, nor do they feel comfortable endorsing political candidates. The data back this up an overwhelming 94 percent of evangelicals surveyed after the 2012 election reported that their pastor didn't endorse a political candidate.

Back in April, 99 different religious groups banded together and wrote a joint letter to Congress urging them not to change the law. A diverse group of representatives then delivered copies of the letter in person to Capitol Hill. Among them were leaders from Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, and Sikh organizations.

Faith leaders protesting religious freedom legislation.

The group thinks mixing politics with worship will have unintended consequences:

"Houses of worship are spaces for members of religious communities to come together, not be divided along political lines; faith ought to be a source of connection and community, not division and discord."

The letter raises a good point. Churches are supposed to be welcoming spaces for everyone, and there are few topics more divisive than politics especially these days. What is the benefit to bringing contentious political debates into the religious sphere?

Leaked Order on Religious Freedom

Prior to the announcement, there were concerns that the new executive order might take a darker turn. Back in February, a draft of an executive order on religious freedom was leaked to the media. The proposed order would have given broad legal protection to those exercising their religious beliefs. Civil rights groups argued it would essentially allow for open discrimination against LGBT individuals under the guise of "religious freedom". In the end, today's executive order steered clear of the issue.

What Next?

It seems that opposition is already building to the president's order. Soon after it was signed, the ACLU responded, promising to "see Trump in court".

Clearly, the debate about the role of churches in the political process is far from over. Does the principle of religious freedom give them the right to participate? Some faith leaders insist the answer is yes. But others are clearly less enthusiastic about the prospect. It seems the issue could now be decided in the courts. How do you see this whole thing shaking out? Should churches be allowed to endorse politicians?



  1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

    The amount of $$$$ that the right wing christian conservatives will put out to kill the freedom of non christians will be the end of freedom of worship and religion for so many of us. We will lose freedom and the right will rule. Its a very sad day for me.

    1. Nix's Avatar Nix

      I'm afraid this is only the beginning. Several conservative "christians" groups are up in arms because it didn't go far enough.

      1. adam's Avatar adam

        The diffence between a cult and a church is a concern when so many politicians are in one and only claim interest in the other for the sake of popularity .Would this not leave the whole system flooded by and open to outlandish and unconventional cults?

        1. Joseph Shrum's Avatar Joseph Shrum

          Some might consider Christianity an outlandish cult. Many modern practices certainly fit the bill in many ways.

    2. Walter Matulis's Avatar Walter Matulis

      I know for a fact, and have witnessed AME Church ministers literally spelling out the reasons and encouraging church members to vote a particular way, and for a particular candidate. In all cases the opinions of the pastors encouraged a left or even far left candidate. Yet if a conservative viewpoint is encouraged the left is up in arms. Relativism and double standards are far too often applied. Even the comments I see here are xenophobic posts that fear conservative viewpoints. Never once has a liberal Christian been threatened with losing their tax free status. Only conservative viewpoints are singled out and threatened in this manner. I say allow free speech for all, not only for liberal viewpoints.

      1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

        I call total BS on your comment. Had you even bothered to check the available facts, other than Fox News, you would find that the Johnson regulation HAS been imposed on churches on both sides of the political spectrum. It's difficult to find these statistics because the regulation is rarely imposed. However, if you want good examples of conservative churches breaking this law, check out Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, etc.

        1. DonBiase's Avatar DonBiase

          Bob: What about "reverend" J. Wright or "father" Pfleger, both of Chicago (by the way), when is their tax status EVER questioned?

      2. Chill Draggon's Avatar Chill Draggon

        Walter, the scary thing is the many conservative voices of intolerance of diversity. None of our founding documents even hint that we should be a christian nation. And face it, no two people have the same definition of christian. Separation of church and state was of great concern for those proposing a nation that was as inclusive as they could arrive at by compromising. Conservatives work to undue that inclusiveness by villifying groups that they declare their god hates. Turn their sacred books into encyclopedias of hate instead of guidebooks of love and acceptance seems to be antithetical to the lessons accepted as Christ's teachings. Presuming to speak for god is hubris at it shameful worst. (But it seems to be a great way to raise money and exercise petty power.) Conservatives should enjoy living their own lives and not be so consumed with god supposedly hating their liberal neighbors that there is little to stop and smell the roses.

        1. DonBiase's Avatar DonBiase

          Where in the Constitution do you find the often quoted "separation of church and state", it isn't there. The state shall not establish!

          1. Gary's Avatar Gary

            Read the correspondence of any of the Founders and they all advocated separation between church and state. Many opposed all organized religion.

        2. Prof Z's Avatar Prof Z

          George Washington - at the constitutional convention: Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God." Ben Franklin - at the constitutional convention: " some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent and beneficent ruler in whom all inferior spirits live..." And let's not forget the 3 mentions of God in the Declaration of Independence. And - as stated below - the phrase separation of church and state is not present in the Constitution, but the phrase Congress shall not prohibit the free exercise of religion is there.

        3. Mike's Avatar Mike

          I'm concerned with the word intolerance. I believe you mispoke. The bible clearly speaks out against the sin. Not the person. You want us to accept the sin, because of the person. That is not what we are to do. We are to love the person and not the sin. That is what it is to tolerate someone. I will allow you to have your opinion. And you will allow me to have mine. Tolerance! But because I won't accept your Opinion doesn't make me bigot or intolerant. If your preacher is in this for money. You need to go to another church. By the way. Christ rebuked the woman at the well of her sin. He did NOT tolerate it.(sin) He did not ACCEPT it. He called it out. But He did tell her to go sin no more. Ummm. He didn't say go keep living in your sin. He rebuke her fathers for worshiping wrong. Again, as a christian I am to love all of Gods people. But we are to rebuke each other of our sins. Not accept it because that's what the world wants. That would be folish. You clearly are bigoted towards christians. But that is your right set forth by our founding fathers. But my conservative christian values have the same rights given by our founding fathers. The founding fathers concerns of a nation of majority should not infringe on the rights of Christians. That government cannot state how, who or way we are to worship. I allude it to the second Amendment as well. The right to bear arms so that when our country decides it knows best for us.(citizens) we can defend ourselves from tyranny and intolerant officials.

          1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

            Again Michael, Respectfully sin is subjective. That is what you consider sin because you believe in and follow the bible... is not necessarily sin to me who dose not. I can agree on some things such as murder, but do not consider being gay a sin, or having sex outside of marriage. This is suppose to be a free country and we should be free of religion deciding what the law is for all of us.
            If we go by bible laws here what makes us any different than a Muslim country that uses sharia law to rule over its people? I choose to live where I am free to not follow bible or any books that try to dictate my morals. That is between me and my interpretation of god or universe.

          2. Toni Morelock's Avatar Toni Morelock

            There are laws that allow to sue for alienation of affection in a court of law. So sex out side of a marriage may not be a sin in your book of life but one can be sued for it in this country. Not sure if that fits here but is a fact. Look folks believe what they believe no matter what bible says or what state laws allow. Seperation of church and state has worked for centuries in this country. Just because its that way doesnt mean folks will abide by it. Leave it all alone and live and let live as we avve for centuries. Why change what is not broken.

          3. Daniel Adams's Avatar Daniel Adams

            Well maybe you should understand we cannot change the past; written millenia ago, one jot or tittle but nonetheless learn from the view of many what is life, and not necessarily good or evil. There is wisdom in the lessons of our ancestors, as long as we do not consider it greater than the man or woman next to us in the now. "Live word(in red) not past word in black. We do not judge them for their past sins or illiteracy, or lack of world communication. We accept and remember their limited access to knowledge, we love them as our elders. The living word will stand in defense, today, against past judgements, wars, slavery, bondage, gender-roles, ignorance, etc.

      3. DonBiase's Avatar DonBiase

        Walter: You're absolutely correct, never a problem for leftist preachers. A conservative, Bible centered cleric will be pilloried.


          Dear Carol, from here, the deep south Florida I send you my admiration and my love. Peace of Mind!

      4. Daniel Adams's Avatar Daniel Adams

        Very Good

    3. Abel Alvarez's Avatar Abel Alvarez

      The church needs to stay put of the political mess and the The idiot politicians need to learn to stay out of our churches we need to keep the division of church & state.

      1. Daniel Adams's Avatar Daniel Adams

        Yes! as long as liberty is not threatened. As long as I am not threatened by law despite being "dead unto it" as it is dead unto me"

    4. Amber's Avatar Amber

      I agree. Even back when he was running I knew if he got into office there would be a lot of freedoms challenged and a lot of changes to the laws to widen that gap between the very rich and everyone else. More laws will be added to give the rich even more tax breaks where they don't need them and put more demand on the middle class to make them poor, and on the poor who can't afford it.

    5. Rev paul's Avatar Rev paul

      Yes it truly is as a minister i would not bring up politics in a sermon politics has no place in the church no matter what your belief is

    6. Rev. Tom Brown's Avatar Rev. Tom Brown

      Carol's fear is rational. The ability to express ideas can have powerful consequences. However, what Trump has done is to give religious speech government funding. If, and I think we should, ministers involve themselves with local political and social actions, they should do so on thier own "hook" without all the tax donated dollars supporting them. All they have to do is give up the government subsidy and I will be fine with them exercising free speech from the pulpit.

      1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

        Well said and thank you Revtombrown

    7. Rev. Rene's Avatar Rev. Rene

      Yes sister Carol, you are very likely correct, and while for most people in this world there is always a greater being in our lives he or she does not belong in our politics!!! Too many wars, too many religious persecutions, too many deaths can be assigned to religion in a country's government. The truth is wherever religion is suppressed it will rise, because overheated brains will then not think rational, so let religious freedom ring by all means but not in legislation!!!

      1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

        Thank you for calling me "sister" Rene L. that touched my heart :-)

    8. Ruben Whitewolf Cisneros's Avatar Ruben Whitewolf Cisneros

      really and he is suspending vouchers for the homeless I am a veteran without a home on disability

      1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

        Ruben Whitewolf Cisneros, First Thank you for your service, and next no one who served our country as you did should ever end up homeless. That breaks my heart! I hope with all my heart that something turns in your favor and you will be safe and warm. Peace Brother

      2. Toni Morelock's Avatar Toni Morelock

        Thank you for your service brother in arms. I salute you Sir.

    9. Ro's Avatar Ro

      The problem is not the money; it's the influence a church/synagogue/mosque, etc. and its pastor/rabbi/imam has on his/her congregants. For some deeply religious people and those who revere their clergy, what the clergy says comes directly from god. So a word form the clergy is a word from the highest power and should be obeyed. Thus, permitting religious organizations to preach politics and remain tax-free would have a crippling effect on our democracy.

      1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

        Very good point Ro. I didnt fit into organized religion because I am just not a follower. But I do realize many people are. Some need to be lead by other humans. Some by laws, rules and religious books or stories. Money is not evil but what it can bye can be.

        1. Daniel Adams's Avatar Daniel Adams

          As long as Law leaves me alone as I have love. I have almost felt I had to un to "church" to defend myself from Law. I am originally a Manist trying to abide outnumbered by the living, but having precedent and the majority with the dead. But, as an archivist, teacher, and link.

      2. Mike's Avatar Mike

        I'm sorry but what preacher, priest or rabbi says does not come from God. God gave us His word but you should never take a MAN at his word. Make sure what they say aligns with the written word. I know to many who give their opinion instead of what God has given us. The protection is not to give the church the right to say what it wants. It is to keep the government from telling us what we can say or teach. For example. The government and groups want to cut tax exemtion to churches who speak out against abortion. In fact in Houston Texas the mayor wanted to fine a church for doing just that. Because she didn't agree. The church were in their rights to speak against such atrocities without facing repercussions from the government. We need to all pray for our President and all our government officials. That God give them serving hearts for our comunities. For all our people. Lastly. Everybody deserves Jesus. He died and rose again for all who believe.

        1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

          Hi Michael, As a non christian I worry and am sad about government getting into what I consider moral issues. Abortion is a moral issue. I dont want you to pay for it, but I dont want to be dined the right and access to it. As a women its my right.
          Also I just dont care for christian laws being pushed on non christians. I understand your feelings and whole heartily want you to be able to follow your bible. But on the same hand want the right to not follow your rules.

    10. Mike's Avatar Mike

      This is not true Carol. This protects you from the government to worship how we please. This gives us the right to speak out against our own government without worry of retribution from our government. As a conservative christian, I would never tell a non-christian how they can or cannot worship. Even an atheist . On the same note my beliefs say I should not support abortion. That it is the murdering of a human being. So I should be able to say that my tax money should not go to that cause. I am not stopping a woman from doing it. I don't want to pay for it. As a pastor or priest, I shouldn't fear repercussions from my government for teaching what the bible says. Nor should any person in that church. I am truly confused as to why you are sad. This protects all religions. It stops our government from telling what you can say and who you can worship.

    11. Daniel Travis Adams-Benavides's Avatar Daniel Travis Adams-Benavides

      Whats wrong with having rights for all? You think that law should dictate a sermon in God's house? I am also a conservationalist of rights. And that is for all, not just the left. Life, not just written law. Choice, free-will, not "big-brother" And not using law to deny christians equal rights. Is God less than the state? What is more unclean? Meth or pork? Taboo-Heroin or beef? The church already has been subdued by the state. But not God. And he looketh not upon evil, he is the most open-minded there is. Though the state resurrected past law in defiance of the live-in-the-moment Christ. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness will prevail.

  1. Marius Gabriel Burja's Avatar Marius Gabriel Burja

    I am tired of living in the lie of government. I am tired of living in the lie of religion. Faith does not need either one. Mankind is the evil of this world. Mankind created God and law of religion and law of land. I was born free and will die free. As a matter of fact I am on my way to the woods now. This world can go to hell. I've been robbed enough and am no man's slave. Not the governments and not the churches.

    1. Brother John's Avatar Brother John

      Great comment, MGBUMGSMQ4/14. Humans are a plague on the Earth and a danger to all life on the planet. Just curious.... how does your name fit on a driver's license or other necessary documents?

    2. Daniel Adams's Avatar Daniel Adams

      Marius Gabriel Burja UBACK Möbius Galactic Storm Marymoose Quantum: Wish I could, but unfortunately been stuck fighting it out from probation and courts, though I have not had a victim in any of my crimes this whole millenium. of course 7-8 years I spent in jail for all these victimless crimes. (I live in Santa Clara, CA)

  1. Jess Martin's Avatar Jess Martin

    This means tax-free PACs

  1. Clayton Beardmore's Avatar Clayton Beardmore

    This reminds me of the old Peter, Paul, and Mary song - "the times, they are achangin'."

    1. E M Moriarty's Avatar E M Moriarty

      That’s a Bob Dylan song performed by P P &M, along with many others throughout the years

  1. biblical scholar's Avatar biblical scholar

    Trump wins again! He will restore JESUS to politics as the founders intended. Christians have been opressed by atheist sodomite liberals for TOO LONG!

    1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

      only if Jesus can make him money... your a fool if you think he cares about god, Jesus or anything but his money and his fame.

      1. storyman2001's Avatar storyman2001

        Carol, do you have an intimate knowledge of his motivation? Could it be that you only spout what you have been fed by the godless whore of Babylon? It does not matter what his motivation is. In the New Testament we are told that there are those who preach the good news for their own glory, they will receive their reward here. The good news is spread no matter the speakers motivation. It is God that will judge the heart (mind/motivation) of those who do good. All long as good is done the motivation does not matter except to God who will judge, not us.

        1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

          Hello Storyman2001, I do not know tRump personally. I do not like or agree with anything about him. I dont mind hanging out with so called whores because it seems to me Jesus had no issues with breaking bread with people most christians call whores.
          I do not agree with motives not being important. I believe a persons motives show what is in there heart. I will not follow a person or persons who have selfish interests and hatefulness in there hearts. That's why I left the christian church and bible teaching over all.

      2. Sylvia Guerra's Avatar Sylvia Guerra

        That's exactly what l see here. It's not about morals for this government...It's about the money.

    2. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Nice with the name calling. The Founders intended no such thing. You should read something more educational than an alt right blog. The Federalist Papers would be a good place to start.

    3. Jan's Avatar Jan

      Awesome I like the way you work

    4. Walter Matulis's Avatar Walter Matulis

      Thank you Brother Bernard

    5. gaffanonGaffanon's Avatar gaffanonGaffanon

      the founding fathers went out of their way to make sure there was separation of church and state for a reason. They saw the power of abuse that comes in the name of religion. Read what all the founding fathers said not what some revisionist tries to push off as reality.

      1. Amber's Avatar Amber

        Absolutely Gaffanon. There is plenty of access to the original documents as well as letters directly from our founders to support clean and strong separation of church and state.

    6. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

      Poor Bernard. The Founders did all they could to separate church and state. And if anyone is being oppressed, it is those of us who refuse to be cowed by the demands of so-called 'christians' whose only goal is to impose their belief systems on everyone. "Atheist sodomite liberals"? You honestly need to check with your doctor to have your psychotic drug prescriptions re-evaluated.

    7. teddycares2's Avatar teddycares2

      Bernard, you do know that the sin of Sodom was gluttony and greed.. two of your favorite persons favorite things. Also many liberals are Christians .. If you bother to read the bible.. Christ was very liberal. The founding fathers clearly stated that government and churches were not to be mixed. They knew of the problems that occur when one religion takes power over the rest. No one religion nor government agency has the right to tell other religions or other people what to believe.

    8. E M Moriarty's Avatar E M Moriarty

      “Restore Jesus to politics as the founders intended”???? Bernard, you seem to be suffering from delusion based on no information. That must be a painful existence. Possibly prayers to lead you out of the wilderness and towards truth will be helpful.

  1. Kirk's Avatar Kirk

    I don't think churches are authorities on political candidates. There are left and right leaning churches that will undoubtedly abuse this new development. I think most normal Christians like me will stick to the word of Christ not some political hack turned pastor, or the reverse. Most churches will not change their behavior in regard to politics.

  1. Ben's Avatar Ben

    What happened to separation of church and state?

    1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

      state Ben, is bought and paid for and the christian right has lots of money so they force there agenda on the rest of us

    2. Amber's Avatar Amber

      Money happened. Power happened. The ability to control the masses, which our founding fathers were trying to avoid, has just made it's foothold known.

  1. Brother John's Avatar Brother John

    A country that; has more military bases around the world than all other countries combined; is the only one to have used nuclear weapons on a civilian population (twice); is the #1 manufacturer, seller and consumer of arms and weaponry; uses chemical weapons (white phosphorous, Agent Orange, D/U munitions, etc); is actively involved in dozens of wars around the globe; overturns elected governments of other countries; supports tyrants and dictators who bend to it's will and uses widespread, on-going propaganda to deceive it's population can use the twisted morality of the Christian god to best advantage. Being a Buddhist nation would be bad for the incredibly profitable business of war.

    1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

      Well stated Brother John. Sad but well stated.

    2. gaffanonGaffanon's Avatar gaffanonGaffanon

      Morality at the highest levels are gone this country is up for sale to whom ever throws the most money at officials. the corruption is built into the system and all the checks for that have been are absolutely correct.

  1. Carrie's Avatar Carrie

    The GOP is on a very slippery slope and picking up speed on the path to oblivion. One result of this stupid nonsense is the splitting of congregations as their "preacher" tells them to go one way and they want to go another. My own representative wanted the "religious freedom" act, but he wanted it to include the right to hate. He also voted to overturn the ACA and will be shortly finding out what hell is like for narrow minded weasels. I will go on with my life, ignoring the blathering of a pulpit, that is why I am a High Priestess here...because I didn't go to divinity school...I am not divine, only empowered.

    1. Clayton Beardmore's Avatar Clayton Beardmore

      High Priestess huh? I'll bet you're crazy, and you can pick your own doctor!

      1. Carrie's Avatar Carrie

        Indeed...I may well be crazy but think about this...I am free, my intellect is free from your taint, my faith is free of your shackles. In my thoughts you are the crazy one, you chain yourself to an antique system created by slaves for slaves to justify the cruelty of their own by blaming others. 98% of those who call themselves Christian may be so, as they follow the loving teachings of Jesus. The rest scream his name but would kill him over and over because he taught loving and forgiving as opposed to hating and destruction. I would rather be crazy than live in such a narrow little room as you seem to be. In Love And Light........

        1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

          I'm with you Carrie! But our ver freedom to express ourselves is now at risk under this tyrant tRump..and his followers...stay strong sister and peace be with you always.

          1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

            Have you noticed how quickly christians go to insults and name-calling. Carrie must be 'crazy', says Clayton, because she has an opinion that doesn't match his own. To quite our 'fearless leaders'....SAD.

          2. John Maher's Avatar John Maher

            CARRIE and CAROL, U go GIRLs, tRUMP is an A HO !!!

  1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


    1. Clayton Beardmore's Avatar Clayton Beardmore

      Isn't saying "Nest Head" name calling too?

      1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

        Come on, Clayton...just look at the man's massive orange comb-over. What else would you call it? LOL

    2. Amber's Avatar Amber

      Hmm... I'm not sure calling him a name is the best way to put your point across. I mean I agree Trump doesn't know what he's talking about and doesn't have the self security to either read reports or ask someone who is eyeball deep in the research to know for sure. Just... the name calling on top of name calling doesn't seem the best way to make a point.

  1. hsw's Avatar hsw

    I believe there may be a typo in the original article. "...under an IRS rule known as the Johnson Amendment, churches have 'not' been prevented from endorsing political candidates."

    They actually have been prevented...I think the "not" was unintentional.

  1. William w. George's Avatar William w. George

    Your damned if you do ,your damned if you don't, All hail the might dollar & praise the rich & powerfull ,sign Heil ,.

  1. Jan Ellen Berry's Avatar Jan Ellen Berry

    President Trump is an Awesome Man and I believe He knows what to do Continue the Economy Uplift !

    1. gaffanonGaffanon's Avatar gaffanonGaffanon

      then you are not paying attention to what is really going . all his claims and promises have fallen flat. we the small citizens will take the brunt of all the finacial burden while his rich cronies cut up this country

    2. Amber's Avatar Amber

      Belief and fact are two different things. You can research him and his policies as well as what history supports as successful and failure in politics. So far he's checking off all the economical downhill slide lists in record time.

  1. Marcus Ferrell's Avatar Marcus Ferrell

    I see that their plan to FURTHER divide the religious communities is proceeding according to plan and and succeeding. Keep arguing amongst yourselves creating deeper chasms between people. Do you work for these people undercover and how much does it pay?

    1. Amber's Avatar Amber

      Don't be too hard on them. People are afraid and confused. That makes a mess of things faster than anything else. Keep encouraging research into how politics in the states work and how we each can be involved on a level we can manage is most important right now. If they have something to focus on and learn about they start realizing where the problem spots are and how to tackle them.

      1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Priestess Christina Maher.'s Avatar Priestess Christina Maher.

    You can have all the education in the would and not have wisdom. The separation of church and state must stay separate. This act will give fanatical factions permission to run amuck over everyone else. Those factions with the most money to grease political palms, will push to eliminate the freedoms of religion to their own ends. History has a real tendency to repeat itself when its hand is forced by the narrow minded so called purest fanatics.

    One example, the push for the moment of silence in schools. They meant it as prayer, my kids did not participate in it and got into trouble. I got a letter from the school, telling me this. I went to the school and told them my children do not have to participate and I told them they do not have to. They only have to participate in the pledge of allegiance, because of those in our family who have died defending it and those that still defend it. Their so called moment of silence was a prayer time in my opinion. Which I find offense in a government building. They can read a book or magazine during that time and be respectful to others who are participating, they will NOT be reprimanded for it.

    Every executive order that chips away at this is proof.

  1. storyman2001's Avatar storyman2001

    This is not so much about religious organizations, such as Churches or Temples influencing political thought, but rather giving the same freedom of speech to express how political forces can either complement or contradict a people of faith. Again this goes back to Freedom of Speech.

  1. William C Millhouse's Avatar William C Millhouse

    If the Ultra Right wing Evangelicals etc. want to preach politics, let them and then take away their tax free status. This should shut them up, especially if it is made retroactive to the date that they first started preaching politics.

    1. Amber's Avatar Amber

      I agree wholeheartedly. IF they want to become that politically involved they need to make that statement and take up paying taxes.

  1. Priestess Christina Maher.'s Avatar Priestess Christina Maher.

    Yes Bill they should have their tax status taken away.

  1. James's Avatar James

    I believe Church and State should remain seperate. God is not a political God. He is the one true God the Father. And Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

  1. Annette's Avatar Annette

    Not only should they have their tax status taken away, they should have to pay the same taxes as any other large business at the corporate level!! Churches have no place in government, our forefathers had great insight by creating a separation of church and state.

  1. Robert Hadley's Avatar Robert Hadley

    If churches want to be involved in politics, then they should lose thier tax exempt status. Plain and Simple

  1. Francisco's Avatar Francisco

    Should Pulpit be Political❓ Hell No‼️

  1. storyman2001's Avatar storyman2001

    So would Jesus support Abortion on demand? Oh no can't talk about it, that might be political. Where politics and values mix then religious people should become political.

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Please don't try to hijack this thread for your own agenda. Nobody is discussing abortion and it has no place in this conversation.

    2. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

      That is a subject that is between a women and her interpretation of god. the word man in your name tag says you really dont have a dog in that fight. unless your able to get pregnant its non of your business storyman2001.

      1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher

        AMEN CAROL, AMEN !!!

  1. storyman2001's Avatar storyman2001

    The separation of church and state is not what you think. The constitution only prohibits an Official State Religion. No Where does is require a complete separation. Who is that gives us our inalienable rights, God.

  1. Jim D.'s Avatar Jim D.

    I don't really care if churches want to insert themselves in the political process. It's a free country and any person and any entity has the right to express themselves as they wish. Clergy can sermonize and say whatever they want about candidates, parties and politics. People need to use their own brains. Don't vote for someone because your preacher told you to. Do your homework and decide on a candidate because YOU think he/she will do a good job.

    As for churches? Tax them. They've been getting away with being tax free for far too long. No church should be sitting on any amount of accumulated wealth and real estate while there is a single person that is homeless or a single person that goes hungry. It begs the question, if churches are spending their collected monies on those in need, what are they collecting it for?

  1. Jan's Avatar Jan

    Awesome , Thank you for the extra ! Smile Jesus Love's You !

  1. Kimberly's Avatar Kimberly

    NO! to the government governing any church or religion for any reason.

  1. PT,krystiona McCulloh's Avatar PT,krystiona McCulloh

    It is not up to us to say write dictate make control what or who worship God. We must however worship him in spirit and in truth. For the Lord seemeth such true worshippers. In the bible the people of God are not only in authority they are authority. They also are very important governing bodies that caused some great changes in life for all believers. It is the way of life for Christians to have kings and governing officials because we are indeed a kingdom. The bible says the government is gods servant sent for the punish,emt of evil doers, the governent is gods servant sent for our good. Do ou not want to fear the authorities then do what is right and they will honor you. Without faith it is imossible to please God, and faith without works is dead. Pray the Lord of harvest for laborers for the workers are many but the laborers are few. Don't decry those whom are willing to worship God maybe not asylum do but as they are individually lead to by the Holy Spirit the spirit of truth, who us the comforter. Gods love does not know and or want prejudice nor does it desire unrighteousness. It is perfect and rejects no purety. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

  1. Madleon's Avatar Madleon

    All religious leaders and members of their congregations have multiple roles in society. One is church leader/member the other is American citizen. I advocate for full exercise of both roles. In a clearly religious gathering, i recommend sticking with discussions of spiritual issues that promote the development of individual character and advancement of charity and compassion among all people. If it is on church property, that is a primary reason that we have churches. However, that second role of American citizen is also very much a part of individual character. Take it to the streets, so to speak, and away from recognized church property or spaces. If a pastor or church member wishes to invite others to his or her home, a restaurant, or other public space to discuss political issues, not as church affiliated persons, but as private citizens, then this is Constitutional, and such meetings need no further protection than that already provided in the Constitution.

  1. Bev Lowden's Avatar Bev Lowden

    No! I don't need to hear political jargon from the ambo . I hear enough outside of church . It's refreshing and peaceful not hearing political speeches! If they want to preach politics, then they should start paying taxes too!

  1. aerobat01's Avatar aerobat01

    As with most of the garbage that comes from the Right and Alt-Right, this executive order is named as the exact opposite of what it is meant to do. It has the intent to mesh religion and politics in the USA. As such it will not only restrict religious freedom for not conservative Christians but has the potential to force a 'State Religion' on the citizenry. The reality is that the Christian, conservative evangelicals are buying congress with the intent to make their version of the bible, our new basis of law ... just as sharia law is implemented in some muslim countries.

    The reality is they are afraid their religion and movement are not strong or righteous enough to survive unless they are forced upon people. And, forcing religion on people is exactly why this country formed in the first place. They should read a little less bible and a little bit more American history.

    1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

      I wish there was a way to give a thumbs up to aerobat01! I could not agree more!! thank you for your we thought out comment. I so agree.

      1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

    Your picture headline states that opposition groups "thinks mixing politics with worship will have unintended consequences." Trust me, when it comes to Christianity's determination to impose their beliefs and values on everyone else, nothing is "unintended". This is merely payback to those millions of so-called pious Christian stalwarts who held their noses while voting for a twice-divorced, self-confessed adulterer who likes to grab women by their genitals: So much for Christian convictions.

    1. Carol Amina's Avatar Carol Amina

      Oh Bob! you didnt go there lol.... yes you did and thank you :-)

    2. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. kenneth bruun-olsen's Avatar kenneth bruun-olsen

    NO, this is a Divisive Action and Clearly meant to Split Society even More than the Politico's have done already. You can't get a Mutual Answer about Religious Belief even when discussed between Friends and Family Members. Religion, in and of itself is little different than a Loaded Gun, you want to be Very Careful where you choose to Point it. Firstly it can be Very Selective, even though I believe that If Jesus Existed he was Probably One of the Coolest Guys in the Room, whatever room that is, and you already have LGBT people judged and discriminated against, or even ostracized. I just Can't see Jesus doing this...not My Jesus, and that is my point. What would Jesus think of the US Government? Probably NOT a Fan with all the Drone Murders and 'War on Terror' nonsense. The 'Death Penalty'? Again, doing HIS Fathers Work with the whole 'Taking of a Life' thing...again, Way Uncool. And Jesus basically had a select number of Shining Moments. the 'Sermon on The Mount' being a biggie. Yet pretty much EVERYTHING that HE Preached on that day is not only NOT PRACTICED by our 'Honorable Government', but Illegal in ever more places...Think HOMELESS PEOPLE for instance. Not to mention going all Old Testament it states Clearly that GOD gave Man (Us) 'All of the Seed Baring Plants' to be given as Food and Medicine. OK, take that verse in a 'So Called' (and WRONGLY SO) 'Christian Country' and you'll Quickly find yourself Gang Raped in some Prison for about 5 years (or LIFE with Maximum Minimums) not to mention the remainder of your life Destroyed via the Ridiculous 'War on Drugs' Prohibition that has NEVER WORKED Anyway. Now that is when The Bible is Used DIRECTLY, just think of how Crazy this kind of Power will be in the hands of a Bought and Paid for Politician who Gives not a Damn about You OR Your Family. WAY BAD IDEA All the Way Around. Now lets talk about The Muslim Religion, which I have Nothing Against as a human being, but THAT is a Religion as well. It seems that Everybody is So Into including Religion as long as it's THEIR RELIGION. Here is an Exercise to Prove my Point: Find a Family, let's call them 'Catholics', and tell them that the Government has Decided...or YOU have 'Decided' that their Children should be raised in The Protestant Faith. I know this is 'Crazy Talk' but as I mentioned earlier, Religion can be a Dangerous thing, and Very Personal. This is a Terrible Idea all the way around.

    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Nicole Dauch's Avatar Nicole Dauch

    This is a heart-wrenching topic. Either sides of this issues tend to loose or win "political arguments" regarding this; like as if there are losers and winners. So, one the left wants to stifle the opinions of the right, is how I understand this debate. But all sides are missing the point; this is history repeating itself! Rather than see only your argument down through history, why not consider that they will come for your religion next, for your right to believe or not, for your right to practice a religion "or not"! I am reminded of those days and times in history, when if you were a Christian you were literally crucified or fed to the lions. Or that if you were a Witch, you were burned at the stake. Or if you were not an Natzi, you were sent to the gas chamber. Or if you were a Mormon, militias hunted you down from State to State. Or if you had not faith in God, you were banished from society, fired, and publicly shamed and humiliated. Is not the freedom to chose at play here? Is not the freedom to assemble with those who are like minded to yourself, at risk here? When government passes laws to force you to be straight or gay, or to practice Christianity or Islam, or to not practice nothing for that matter, that is when government is dangerous. Once they force one group of people in doing or saying against their personal or group beliefs, then "they" (government) will come to force you next!

  1. Revereri's Avatar Revereri

    This is yet another way to funnel money into the hands of those who cannot be trusted. Do not sully your good name by taking part in this con job/fraud/swindle. Do not tell anyone how they should vote or why; they need to do their own research.

    Jesus was a socialist. :)

  1. DJ's Avatar DJ

    If the religious groups & churches want to be involved in politics, then they should pay their share of taxes like everyone else & lose all exemptions. The of church & state is important for balance.

  1. Rev Anthony Yerace's Avatar Rev Anthony Yerace

    Trump is showing himself as a bigger idiot than anyone thought. Church and State means government, because they knew that you must speak and deal with many Faiths and see things from that point of view not his point of view. As it was explained to me , when you are in the oval office you are an atheist. Religion stays out. You have a moral compass that you use . You do not use your beliefs on that person. That is how wars start. Religion already has to much sway. When the president leaves the office and goes home he can follow his religion. Since he has signed this All religious are no longer tax exempt and their taxes are due that is the good. So make larger donations because Donald Trump fond a way to finance his fence. I'm Reverend Anthony Yerace retired due to health

    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


      1. Rev Anthony Yerace's Avatar Rev Anthony Yerace

        You blame both. bigotry is not dead and just in the time of Hitler people want a simple answer someone to blame like Hitler blamed the Jews. Things are not that simple, No quick fixes. Time and the right people working together the two parties are going to have to stop their controversy dump their parties once elected and work together as they did before the RNC and DNC mean little except that theRNC backs the top[ 1% That means take care of their own.. Less government means less regulation means rich get richer poor get poorer. now the church's will see when they get hit with federal taxes

        1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher

          VERY SOUND THINKING REV., WE"ll S E E if the DREAM COMEs TRUE BUT thank you,

    2. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Ed's Avatar Ed

    First and foremost, churches have ALWAYS had the right to being vocal in politics, and served as a moral compass to call the people to question actions of corrupt politics. Then Senator Johnson came up with the 501c3 BFS, to attempt to silence "the pulpit."

    HOWEVER, only IF a church subjugated itself to the 501c3 yoke, was it subject to all the burdens it brought. IF a church chose to remain free of the 501c3 trash, then they are free to discuss politics, or whatever else they desire. To try and force churches to comply, they have it where all agencies who help churches REQUIRE them to show their 501c3 status, or they don't get any grant money.

    What Trump did was restore some balance from Johnson's mayhem.

    More to the point, this protects churches from PERSECUTION by individuals, such as the LGBTQ community. People talk about the Christian bakers, but nothing about the Muslim bakers that refused to bake cakes for gay weddings. What most of the stories don't tell you is that the gay couple were "friends" of the baker, and knew the person's religious beliefs. Thus, knowing that, they STILL went to the person. Then, when the person refused, they SUED their "friend." How's THAT for tolerance? Time and again, the skewed media only tells one side, to push an agenda. How would the story role, if it covered all that, with them being "friends," thus KNOWING the person's beliefs, and then suing baker for the baker's beliefs? Wouldn't suit the LGBTQ agenda that many are pushing, huh?

    1. teddycares2's Avatar teddycares2

      But it's ok for Churches to persecute gays and deny them their rights? You seem to have a rather bigoted line of sight. Christ said to love all and care for ALL .. not just the few you like. He NEVER condemned nor judged gays.. only man has done that. As far as 501C3's, if you want to preach politics. go ahead.. but pay your taxes.. first. Christ also said to pay your taxes.

  1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick


    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Eric Beaulieu's Avatar Eric Beaulieu

    Political conversations are something i normally refrain from engaging in other than to state facts but in this instance i feel compelled to speak.

    First off i believe that true equal rights are that every person is judged solely by their actions. We are all equal and should strive to be respectful courteous and understanding of others as through this we diversify our experiences and grow as individuals. This enables us to make better informed decisions and guide our followers more effectively.

    With this in the open please indulge me being the devil's advocate so to speak.

    We all have our own beliefs based on our religious background and chosen beliefs . In this one unifying statement is the heart of the debate dividing this issue. The removal.of government limitations.on clerical free speech is essential to protecting the seperation of church and state and as members of the clergy it is our respinsibilty to use insight wisdom and reserve when speaking to our followers on this dangerous grounds as outside groups actively try to impose their views on other groups and even churches.i.e.. boy scouts by court ruling must except girls homosexuals and transgender members even though by definition and action they are entirely nonprofit church organization in spite of the fact they openly accept members of other religious denominations. This should be a warning to all of us that seperation of church and state only exists when we are able to openly speak and any infringement of this is an infringement on the constitution itself in my opinion.

    Before coming to a conclusion on this i strongly encourage fully reading and researching points that require further illumination for you before deciding on a stance on this as the outcome of this decision can have longstanding impacts on all religious groups and the autonomy of churches is very much being challenged by special interest groups that are trying to enforce their views on others beliefs through judicial action. I humbly submit that seperation of church and state should include courts not imposing their viewpoint on a churches beliefs or membership. All people are are free to choose what they believe in but not who to impose those beliefs on

    1. Eric beaulieu's Avatar Eric beaulieu

      This is very true. Church rights are being actively the same token it is our responsibility not to force our views on others. By learning from each other's beliefs we become better. When we enforce a specific credit we limit our ability to learn.

  1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Christian's Avatar Christian

    communists and socialists attack religion.

    It is only fair the churches practice self defense.

  1. Abel Alvarez's Avatar Abel Alvarez

    I don't think the church should be involved in politics or endorsing any candidate.

  1. Minister. George Armah Okine's Avatar Minister. George Armah Okine

    The First Amendment: Religious Freedom, and Freedom to Speak, Print, Assemble, and Petition

    We hear a good deal nowadays about “a wall of separation” between church and state in America. To some people’s surprise, this phrase cannot be found in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. Actually, the phrase occurs in a letter from Thomas Jefferson, as a candidate for office, to an assembly of Baptists in Connecticut.

    The first clause of the First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This clause is followed by guarantees of freedom of speech, of publication, of assembly, and of petitioning. These various aspects of liberty were lumped together in the First Amendment for the sake of convenience; Congress had originally intended to assign “establishment of religion” to a separate amendment because the relationships between state and church are considerably different from the civil liberties of speech, publication, assembly, and petitioning.

    The purpose of the “Establishment Clause” was two-fold: (1) to prohibit Congress from imposing a national religion upon the people; and (2) to prohibit Congress (and the Federal government generally) from interfering with existing church-state relations in the several States. Thus the “Establishment Clause” is linked directly to the “Free Exercise Clause.” It was designed to promote religious freedom by forbidding Congress to prefer one religious sect over other religious sects. It was also intended, however, to assure each State that its reserved powers included the power to decide for itself, under its own constitution or bill of rights, what kind of relationship it wanted with religious denominations in the State. Hence the importance of the word “respecting”: Congress shall make no law “respecting,” that is, touching or dealing with, the subject of religious establishment.

    In effect, this “Establishment Clause” was a compromise between two eminent members of the first Congress—James Madison and Fisher Ames. Representative Ames, from Massachusetts, was a Federalist. In his own State, and also in Connecticut, there still was an established church—the Congregational Church. By 1787–1791, an “established church” was one which was formally recognized by a State government as the publicly preferred form of religion. Such a church was entitled to certain taxes, called tithes, that were collected from the public by the State. Earlier, several other of Britain’s colonies had recognized established churches, but those other establishments had vanished during the Revolution.

    Now, if Congress had established a national church—and many countries, in the eighteenth century, had official national churches—probably it would have chosen to establish the Episcopal Church, related to the Church of England. For Episcopalians constituted the most numerous and influential Christian denomination in the United States. Had the Episcopal Church been so established nationally, the Congregational Church would have been disestablished in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Therefore, Fisher Ames and his Massachusetts constituents in 1789 were eager for a constitutional amendment that would not permit Congress to establish any national church or disestablish any State church.

    The motive of James Madison for advocating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was somewhat different. Madison believed that for the Federal government to establish one church—the Episcopal Church, say—would vex the numerous Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, and other religious denominations. After all, it seemed hard enough to hold the United States together in those first months of the Constitution without stirring up religious controversies. So Madison, who was generally in favor of religious toleration, strongly advocated an Establishment Clause on the ground that it would avert disunity in the Republic.

    In short, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was not intended as a declaration of governmental hostility toward religion, or even of governmental neutrality in the debate between believers and non-believers. It was simply a device for keeping religious passions out of American politics. The phrase “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” was meant to keep the Congress from ever meddling in the disputes among religious bodies or interfering with the mode of worship.

    During the nineteenth century, at least, State governments would have been free to establish State churches, had they desired to do so. The Establishment Clause restrained only Congress—not State legislatures. But the States were no more interested in establishing a particular church than was Congress, and the two New England States where Congregationalism was established eventually gave up their establishments—Connecticut in 1818, Massachusetts in 1833.

    The remainder of the First Amendment is a guarantee of reasonable freedom of speech, publication, assembly, and petition. A key word in this declaration that the Congress must not abridge these freedoms is the article “the”—abridging the freedom of speech and press. For what the Congress had in mind, in 1789, was the civil freedom to which Americans already were accustomed, and which they had inherited from Britain. In effect, the clause means “that freedom of speech and press which prevails today.” In 1789, this meant that Congress was prohibited from engaging in the practice of “prior censorship”—prohibiting a speech or publication without advance approval of an executive official. The courts today give a much broader interpretation to the clause. This does not mean, however, that the First Amendment guarantees any absolute or perfect freedom to shout whatever one wishes, print whatever one likes, assemble in a crowd wherever or whenever it suits a crowd’s fancy, or present a petition to Congress or some other public body in a context of violence. Civil liberty as understood in the Constitution is ordered liberty, not license to indulge every impulse and certainly not license to overthrow the Constitution itself.

    As one of the more famous of Supreme Court Justices, Oliver Wendell Holmes, put this matter, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.” Similarly, statutes that prohibit the publication of obscenities, libels, and calls to violence are generally held by the courts to conform to the First Amendment. For example, public assemblies can be forbidden or dispersed by local authorities when crowds threaten to turn into violent mobs. And even public petitions to the legislative or the executive branch of government must be presented in accordance with certain rules, or else they may be lawfully rejected.

    The Constitution recognizes no “absolute” rights. A Justice of the Supreme Court observed years ago that “The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact.” Instead, the First Amendment is a reaffirmation of certain long-observed civil freedoms, and it is not a guarantee that citizens will go unpunished however outrageous their words, publications, street conduct, or mode of addressing public officials. The original, and in many ways the most important, purpose of freedom of speech and press is that it affords citizens an opportunity to criticize government—favorably and unfavorably—and to hold public officials accountable for their actions. It thus serves to keep the public informed and encourages the free exchange of ideas.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
Don't have an account yet? Create Account