A new analysis shows that some 13.7 million people have been provided with healthcare and other social services from faith-based organizations following President Donald Trump’s executive order protecting religious liberty.
The analysis from Family Research Council says that in the first year since Trump signed an executive order promoting free speech and religious liberty on May 4, 2017, there has been a “tangible impact on the protection and priority of religious freedom throughout the executive branch.”
Trump’s executive order called for all executive agencies to respect and to protect the freedom of organizations and individuals to engage in religious speech.
The executive order also provided direction to the Department of Health and Human Services on how to best “address conscience-based objections” to Obamacare contraception and birth control mandate, which required many faith-based employers to provide health care plans to employees that may have violated the company’s religious beliefs.
Then in October 2017, the Trump administrations expanded exemptions to the HHS mandate, protecting faith-based nonprofits and for-profit companies.
“Many organizations are now covered by the exemption and will remain free to serve," said Travis Weber, the director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty. "At a minimum, this includes the 354 organizations and individuals affiliated with them who have challenged the mandate in court."
Weber says that if the rule had not been expanded in October, “millions of people would be in great jeopardy.”
In one case, last May’s executive order also helped to protect the rights of Air Force Colonel Leland Bohannon, who faced punishment last year after he refused to sign a certificate of appreciation for a same-sex spouse of a retiring serviceman.
Bohannon was eventually suspended.
In another case, the Department of Justice submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Christian Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who faces punishment from the state after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
"The DOJ's message to courts that it favors protecting the religious freedom of people in the position of Jack Phillips shows that the executive branch is prioritizing the First Amendment and religious liberty," Weber said.
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Publication date: May 9, 2018