The order would focus on 1954’s Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations like churches and religious groups from political involvement
In the age of the Affordable Care Act, it’s also been used to has been used by the left to justify forcing religious organizations to cover certain types of birth control in their medical insurance plans. And, as conservative writers have pointed out, it has been used as a cudgel — a threat of potential punishment — for churches opposed to progressive favorites like abortion and same-sex marriage pushed by gay rights groups.
Fox News reported that the order will have three main components: to affirm “that it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty,” an order to the IRS “to exercise (maximum) enforcement of discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment,” and to provide “regulatory relief for religious objectors to Obamacare’s burdensome preventive services mandate.”
A draft of the executive order was leaked to liberal mag The Nation and published in February.
The draft protected any organization that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”
The White House took a lot of ribbing from the left at the time and the issue seemingly disappeared. However, if you thought the text had received an overhaul, think again: Politico reports a major conservative figure “who saw the text said it hasn’t been dialed back much — if at all.”
“The language is very, very strong,” the source said.
That’s good news.
Whatever the merits of the law’s original purpose — it was sponsored by and named for future President Lyndon Johnson, back when he was still the Democrat minority leader in the U.S. Senate — it has become a tool for the left to attack conservative Christian churches. (Do the Democrat bastions of black churches have to worry about losing their tax-exempt status for “souls to the polls” campaigns that drive Democrat voters to voting places?)