Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Wednesday, May 3, 2017
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on religious freedom on the National Day of Prayer, according to reports.
Politico reports that the president has invited conservative leaders to the White House on Thursday for the possible signing of the religious freedom order.
Many conservatives have asked Trump to push forward a policy that would protect the rights of individuals and organizations to act in accordance with their religious beliefs without fear of a lawsuit or other sort of backlash.
In early March, more than 100 conservative leaders, led by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, signed a letter that was sent to Trump asking him to sign a religious freedom order. The letter also detailed a number of instances where individuals and organizations had seen backlash for acting in accordance with their beliefs.
Critics, meanwhile, say that a policy like that would make it easier for people to use religion as an “excuse” to discriminate against others, particularly those in the LGBT community.
It’s still unclear if an order will officially be signed Thursday. While two senior administration officials told Politico that the plan was ready, another said the plan hasn’t been finalized and one other said the draft is still in the works.
Whatever the case, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, a pro-LGBT firm, have already threatened to immediately sue if the order is signed.
“We will fight this with everything we have,” Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Camilla Taylor told Buzzfeed on Tuesday. “We are prepared to sue in a very short timeframe if the executive order closely resembles the leaked drafts.”
Drafts were leaked in February of a possible religious freedom order, but nothing came of the drafts. According to an “influential conservative” who saw the new order, the wording hasn’t changed much from the February draft.
“The language is very, very strong,” the source said.
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