President Donald Trump may issue a “religious freedom” order that would protect Americans’ rights to live their lives and run their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs on marriage and abortion, according to draft order that has been leaked to the press.
As social conservative activists are voicing their disapproval over reports that indicate that Trump won’t rescind an order signed by President Barack Obama in 2014 that puts religious charities and other federal contractors at risk of losing federal grants because their employment practices are consistent with their religious views on marriage and sexuality, a draft of a potential executive order that began circulating through the administration on Tuesday indicates that Trump could move to protect organizational and individual religious convictions on social issues.
The draft, which was leaked to the The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, is titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom.”
The draft comes as Trump won over the support of reluctant evangelicals and social conservatives who felt as though their religious liberties were being trampled on by the rise of LGBT and abortion rights activists, along with the coercion used by the Obama administration. Trump promised evangelicals and conservatives throughout his campaign that he would protect religious liberties.
According to The Nation, the four page draft order “seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.”
The draft order covers and protects the religious freedom of individuals and “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations” that are seeking a job, employed, providing social services, employing others, receiving government grants and participating in the public square or marketplace.
If the order were to be made official by the president, it suggests that the religious liberties of faith-based federal contractors that were diminished by Obama’s 2014 order would be protected.