Trump To Sign Order Easing Rule Barring Religious Groups From Political Activity

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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May 4, 2017 8:53 a.m.

President Donald Trump on Thursday will sign an executive order to make it easier for religious organizations to delve into politics, according to reports in the Washington Post and New York Times citing White House officials.

The White House order declares that “it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty,” according to the Washington Post.

The administration appears to have backed away from an earlier draft order leaked to The Nation that would have allowed religious groups to refuse to hire or serve LGBT individuals.

The order to be signed Thursday will also direct federal agencies to exempt some religious organizations from the Obamacare mandate requiring that employer health plans cover birth control, according to the Post and the Times.

With the executive order, Trump will not be able to reverse the Johnson Amendment, which bans churches and religious organizations with tax exemptions from supporting political candidates. Instead, the order will direct the IRS to “exercise maximum enforcement discretion of the prohibition,” per the Post.

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