UPDATE: I think I understood the intent of this order correctly, so that, for instance, even though language was removed at the last second regarding the free exercise of religion of businesses, it seems to me that this was done in order that another separate executive order might be prepared regarding that particular issue. Indeed, within seconds it was stated that work on this aspect of the question of the free exercise of religion is now going to be thoroughly pursued.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to guide the executive branch in formulating and implementing policies with implications for the religious liberty of persons and organizations in America, and to further compliance with the Constitution and with applicable statutes and Presidential Directives, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom. The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square [thus, we’re talking not about mere freedom of worship in whatever church building, but, as the Constitution says, the free exercise of religion, that is, in the public square. Forget the untoward speech of John F Kennedy in Texas when he promised to follow the heresy of Americanism, whereby morality bows to the democratic will], and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government [Right. The purpose of the Constitution on this matter is not that the government, for, of and by the people, is to be free of people who exercise their religion in the public square, but that the people who exercise their religion in the public square are to be free on government persecution]. For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans’ first freedom. Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government. The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections. [“undue” – That’s an important word, qualified by the remaining paragraphs. “undue” ensures that, for instance, a “Cultural Center” (Mosque) on the West side of Columbus, Ohio, might well, if necessary, be investigated for terroristic activities.]
Sec. 2. Respecting Religious and Political Speech. All executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech. In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective, where speech of similar character has, consistent with law, not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office by the Department of the Treasury. [Thus, well encompassed in these parameters is a pro-life sermon speaking explicitly of details of political platforms of individual candidates, even mentioning that candidate by name and using direct citations, but speaking of the upshot of these in natural law and in view of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Sacred Magisterium of the Church. You can’t say, “Religously speaking you must vote for SOANDSO.” You can’t put up political signs saying “Vote for SOANDSO” on church property. However, in the negative, it would be just fine to say, “It would be a mortal sin to vote for SOANDSO in SUCHANDSUCH circumstances since this can very well be the case from a religious perspective depending on the circumstances.] As used in this section, the term “adverse action” means the imposition of any tax or tax penalty; the delay or denial of tax-exempt status; the disallowance of tax deductions for contributions made to entities exempted from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of title 26, United States Code; or any other action that makes unavailable or denies any tax deduction, exemption, credit, or benefit. [That’s great. Holy Souls Hermitage was, for instance, never audited by the IRS, though IRS servers would quite frequently be found in the visit logs. I had said a number of times that payment of any IRS fines for having published something drastically religious and political like “Be nice!” during the Obama administration era would likely only be able to be paid in chicken droppings.]
Sec. 3. Conscience Protections with Respect to Preventive-Care Mandate. [Contraception, abortifacients, abortion…] The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate promulgated under section 300gg-13(a)(4) of title 42, United States Code. [If anyone is there from the previous administration, they will have to be removed, as this could drag on forever. But I’m guessing those people are dying of heart attacks this very day.]
Sec. 4. Religious Liberty Guidance. In order to guide all agencies in complying with relevant Federal law, the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law. [This should be easier based on some unanimous Supreme Court decisions. Thus, religious schools don’t have to hire LGBTQ religious ed. teachers. Thus, Chick-fil-A and the Little Sisters of the Poor are free to carry on with getting great food to people and taking care of the sick and dying.] Continue reading