Full Text of Whitehouse “Fact Sheet”:
America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer.
President Donald J. Trump
A VOICE IN THE WHITE HOUSE: Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order to ensure that the faith-based and community organizations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government.
President Trump has signed an Executive Order entitled “Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” in order to:
provide recommendations on the Administration’s policy agenda affecting faith-based and community programs;
provide recommendations on programs and policies where faith-based and community organizations may partner and/or deliver more effective solutions to poverty;
apprise the Administration of any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law; and
reduce the burdens on the exercise of free religion.
The Executive Order creates the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative within the Executive Office of the President.
The Initiative will be led by the newly created position of Advisor to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative (Initiative) and be supported by experts and various community and faith leaders from outside of the Federal Government.
All executive departments and agencies that do not have Centers for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives will designate a liaison to the Initiative.
PRIORITIZING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: President Trump has made it clear that religious freedom is a priority throughout his Administration.
In October 2017, the Department of Justice issued twenty principles of religious liberty to guide the Administration’s litigation strategy and protect religious freedom.
In January 2018, the Justice Department announced a religious liberty update to the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual, raising the profile of religious liberty cases and directing the designation of a Religious Liberty Point of Contact for all U.S. Attorney’s offices.
In January 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced major policy changes protecting freedom of religion inside and outside of the government:
forming a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, providing HHS with the focus it needs to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom; and
proposing to more vigorously enforce twenty-five existing statutory conscience protections for Americans involved in HHS programs, in order to protect Americans who have religious or moral convictions related to certain health care services.
ONE NATION UNDER GOD: President Trump has publicly stood with people of faith and with those who advocate for the sanctity of life.
This is the President’s third public event marking the importance of prayer, including attending the National Prayer Breakfast just two weeks after his inauguration.
President Trump has declared several days of prayer, including a National Day of Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and for America’s National Response and Recovery Efforts.
On October 13, 2017, President Trump spoke at the Value Voters Summit.
On January 19, 2018, President Trump became the first President to address the March for Life rally live via satellite.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the March for Life in 2017, becoming the first sitting Vice President to do so in person.
PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Throughout his tenure as President, Donald Trump has been a champion for religious liberty in the United States, restoring the ideals that have undergirded our Nation’s freedom and prosperity since its founding.
On May 4, 2017, the President signed an Executive Order to greatly enhance religious freedom and freedom of speech:
taking action to ensure that religious institutions may freely exercise their First Amendment right to support and advocate for candidates and causes in line with their values; and
ensuring that religious Americans and their organizations, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, are not be forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs by complying with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate or shutting their doors.
The President has announced a reversal of the Obama administration’s policy and is allowing houses of worship to receive crucial disaster aid in times of crisis.
The Trump Administration has taken a stand on behalf of religious liberty in the courts:
it supported baker Jack Phillips’s right to operate his bakery in accordance with his religious beliefs.
PROTECTING THE SANCTITY OF LIFE: The President has been one of the foremost defenders of the sanctity of life in the history of the White House.
President Trump quickly reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which prevents $9 billion in foreign aid from being used to fund the global abortion industry and its advocates.
President Trump signed H.J. Res 43 into law, which overturned the Obama administration’s midnight regulation prohibiting States from defunding certain abortion facilities as part of their family planning programs.
President Trump’s Administration issued guidance to enforce the requirement that taxpayer dollars not support abortion coverage in Obamacare exchange plans.
However, the Exec. Order has predictably raised the Ire of the LGBT “Alphabet” community:
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about LGBT groups’ concerns with the new “faith initiative.”
The text of the order, released shortly after the Rose Garden ceremony, notes that the initiative will be led by an as-yet-to-be-appointed adviser housed within the White House’s Office of Public Liaison.
The initiative—officially called “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative”—will “consult with” religious leaders who can provide “expertise” on issues including “poverty alleviation,” “religious liberty,” and “strengthening marriage and family”—and then make “recommendations to the President.”
The initiative will also be required to inform the attorney general’s office “of concerns raised by faith-based and community organizations” about perceived violations of “religious liberty” protections.
It will also require any executive agencies that do not currently have a faith-based initiative to establish a “point of contact” who can “coordinate with the [initiative’s] Advisor in carrying out this order.”
The BBC gives a balanced summation of the executive order and the controversy:
“The order loosens a provision of the tax code which prohibits religious organisations from directly supporting or opposing political candidates.
Mr Trump often complained about the rule as a candidate. Repealing it would require action in Congress.
LGBT groups and several human-rights groups oppose the order.
The order was signed by Mr Trump as he hosts conservative religious leaders at the White House for the National Day of Prayer.
“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced ever again,” Mr Trump told the audience.”….