Priests, Nuns, Pro-Life Leaders Give Thanks for Trump's Executive Order

Craig Bannister | May 4, 2017 | 3:59pm EDT
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Nuns at the White House.

Priests, nuns, the largest women’s public policy group in the U.S., and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all gave thanks for an executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

Surrounded by nuns, clergy and religious freedom leaders at a White House ceremony Thursday, Trump signed an executive order designed to protect free speech and save Americans from being forced by government to violate their religious beliefs.

The White House summary of the executive order is below, followed by reactions by religious freedom advocates to the order:

White House Summary:

  1. Declares that it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty;

  2. Directs the IRS to exercise maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits religious leaders from speaking about politics and candidates from the pulpit;

  3. Provides regulatory relief for religious objectors to Obamacare’s burdensome preventive services mandate, a position supported by the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby.

Priests for Life:

Alveda King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, was at the White House today as President Trump signed an executive order on religious liberty that directly impacts the work of the pro-life ministry she serves full-time.

“President Trump has kept another promise to pro-lifers and people of faith with this executive order,” she said. “I thank God for him.”

Priests for Life has been fighting for religious freedom at the Supreme Court as this ministry and dozens of others insist that they will not follow a mandate, left over from the Obama Administration, that would force them to violate their faith by providing insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

Priests for Life has also been fighting against vague and unconstitutional restrictions on what pastors can preach from the pulpit, particularly when it comes to politics, elections, and voting.

“This is truly a great day for religious freedom, for the pro-life movement, and for Priests for Life,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director.

“We will be busy in the coming months unpacking the meaning of this Executive Order for all of the clergy across the nation. We want to move them away from the silly fear that a sermon on Sunday saying to vote pro-life means a visit on Monday from the IRS. We have been insisting for years that this would not happen, and thanks to President Trump's action today it is even farther from happening.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor:

“The government never needed to create this false conflict between women and religion,” Sister Loraine Marie Claire says in a video press statement, adding:

“We, Little Sisters, look for to the government finally ending its unnecessary conflict so we can return to serving the neediest in our society.”

The Catholic Association:

“This Order is an important step in safeguarding to the right of every American to have their religious beliefs protected in their day-to-day lives.” - Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation

“The United States has long been admired the world over for our broad-minded tolerance and inclusive pluralism, where individual conscience rights and religious sensibilities are not just allowed but celebrated. 

“More recently, however, too many Americans—like The Little Sisters of the Poor— have found that working and living in our country increasingly requires lock-step adherence to popular or majority opinions and ideology.  Mr. Trump’s Executive order, however, remains a first step.” -Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association

Concerned Women for America:

Concerned Women for America CEO and President Penny Nance on President Donald J. Trump's signing of an Executive Order protecting Religious Liberty:

"The hundreds of thousands of members of Concerned Women for America from all fifty states in our nation applaud President Donald Trump's efforts to protect and promote religious liberty with this Executive Order.

"President Trump's willingness to address the concerns of millions of religious women, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, instead of ignoring and minimizing their deeply held religious beliefs, as we saw during the previous administration, is a breath of fresh air that gives us great hope for the future.

"We are so appreciative of the president's words at the Rose Garden today.  They were strong, humble, unifying, and inspiring.

"They were words that should be embraced by all, regardless of political persuasion.  Religious liberty is not a political issue.  It is the freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Every American wins when we stand firm on this basic foundation of freedom.

"There is more work to be done, for sure.  But President Trump has set a very different, and a very welcomed, tone in support of religious freedom that will surely bear much fruit in the future.

"It is fitting that he takes this important step as we observe the National Day of Prayer.  The members of Concerned Women for America join our fellow citizens in praying for our president and our country, asking God's blessings on our nation.”

"We support President Trump in this effort, and we commit to working with his administration to strengthen religious freedom for all Americans, regardless of faith."

Watch full White House ceremony here.

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