A Wisconsin-based atheist group is asking a federal judge to strike down President Donald Trump’s latest executive order, which is designed to protect religious freedoms.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit just hours after President Trump signed the executive order that would block the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. The 1954 amendment has prohibited tax-exempt charitable organizations such as churches from participating in political campaigns.
Trump’s order would prohibit the Treasury Department from taking any “adverse action” against churches or religious organizations for political speech.
“Today my administration is leading by example as we take historic steps to protect religious liberty in the United States of America,” the president said Thursday as he signed the order.
He said he was giving churches their voices back.
“No one should be censoring sermons or targeting pastors,” Trump said.
“Faith is deeply embedded into the history of our country, the spirit of our founding and the soul of our nation,” he continued. “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.”
As CBN News previously reported, the order also stipulates that it is the duty of the executive branch to protect and promote religious liberty.
The FFRF is calling the order unconstitutional. They claim it grants preferential treatment to religious organizations while secular non-profit groups are required to still abide by the law, the Associated Press reports.
They also argue that Trump does not have the power to overturn the law.
“As a result of President Trump’s (order), churches and religious organizations will be able to blatantly and deliberately flaunt the electioneering restrictions … including during the upcoming 2018 elections, unlike secular non-profits, including FFRF,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent the IRS from implementing Trump’s order, according to the Associated Press. It also asks a federal judge in Madison to force the IRS to enforce the same restrictions on churches and religious organizations as it does for any other nonprofit organization.