Last week President Trump gave an impassioned speech at the National Prayer Breakfast where he called Americans to give thanks for God’s providential hand of mercy on our nation.
“That is why the words ‘Praise be to God’ are etched atop the Washington Monument and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people. So today we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American,” the President said.
Later, the White House released a memo extolling all of the brilliant work the President has done on behalf of America’s faith community.
The memo covered four major topics; How the President has stood for religious freedom. How he’s made religious liberty a priority of his administration. How he’s fought to defend the sanctity of life, and how he’s fought against the spread of abortion in our world. Finally, the memo covered how the Trump administration has worked to engage the people of faith in a more faithful way than the Obama administration did over the last decade.
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On Standing up for religious liberty:
STANDING UP FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: In his first year in office, President Trump has taken strong action to restore the foundational link between freedom and faith in the United States of America.
- 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, would 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 denying disaster aid to houses of worship, allowing houses of worship to receive crucial aid in times of crisis.
- The Trump administration has taken a stand on behalf of religious liberty in the courts:
- supported students declared ineligible for a scholarship because they attended a religious school;
- supported the Archdiocese of Washington in its effort to buy ads for the holidays on public transportation; and
- supported baker Jack Phillips’s right to operate his bakery in accordance with his religious beliefs.
- In January 2018, the Trump administration took a stand for international religious freedom by placing Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for severe violations of religious freedom and designated 10 others as countries of particular concern.
- The President declared January 18, 2018, to be Religious Freedom Day to “celebrate the many faiths that make up our country.”
On making Religious Liberty a Priority:
PRIORITIZING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE ADMINISTRATION: President Trump has issued new policies to ensure religious freedom is a priority throughout the Federal Government.
- In October 2017, the Department of Justice issued twenty principles of religious liberty to guide the Administration’s litigation strategy to protect religious freedom.
- In January 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced three major policy changes to protect freedom of religion:
- 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 25 existing statutory conscience protections for Americans involved in HHS programs, protecting Americans who have religious or moral convictions related to certain health care services.
On fighting abortion:
PRESERVING THE SANCTITY OF LIFE: President Trump has stopped the attack on pro-life policies, implementing policies to enshrine sanctity of life as an American value.
- Within a week of taking office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which protects $9 billion in foreign aid from being used to fund the global abortion industry and its advocates.
- President Trump cut off taxpayer funding for the U.N. Population Fund.
- President Trump signed H.J. Res. 43 into law, overturning a midnight regulation by the Obama Administration, which prohibited States from defunding certain abortion facilities in their Federally funded family planning programs.
- President Trump expressed strong support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have stopped late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy—the point at which science tells us that an unborn child can experience pain.
- President Trump’s Administration issued guidance to enforce the requirement that taxpayer dollars do not support abortion coverage in Obamacare exchange plans.
- President Trump rescinded an Obama-era policy that hindered States in their efforts to direct Medicaid funding away from abortion facilities that violate the law or fail to meet relevant standards of care.
The Trump administration has indeed worked hard to curry the favor of the faith community in America, and that work can be seen particularly in their efforts on abortion and on the administration’s defense of religious liberty.
Hopefully, the rest of President Trump’s tenure continues to be as favorable to our nation’s faith community.
Cross-Posted with Constitution.com