Some Don’t See Blessing in Trump’s Protecting Religious Liberty

Deal W. Hudson
May 17, 2017

Some conservatives were less than pleased by President Trump’s May 4 executive order on religious liberty. I guess they didn’t read it very closely. Had they done so, they would have realized that it was a promise of welcome changes to come. It doesn’t declare any new rights, but it does direct the administration to amend regulations and issue guidelines to protect the free exercise of religion from the power of the federal government. After what had seemed like a war on religion under Obama, that’s an enormous sea change.

Still, the executive order didn’t satisfy “Never-Trumpets” such as Princeton’s professor Robert George and Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation — who have always been quick to attack the president. They announced that it was “meaningless” and “woefully inadequate.”

Shamefully, George pointed the finger at the President’s Jewish daughter and son-in-law, “Ivanka and Jared won. We lost.” Such acrimony from a leading Catholic figure, and former Chair of the United States Commission on Religious Liberty, is both unjust and unbecoming.

Now let’s look at the record. President Trump has repeatedly declared his intention to remove the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which dramatically limited the political participation of houses of worship along with their priests, pastors, and rabbis.

As a first step towards that end, the executive order specifically instructs the Department of Treasury “not to take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues.  . . . ” We can expect Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to make sure that happens.

President Trump’s order also contains specific language on the ongoing litigation regarding the impact of Obamacare on Little Sisters of the Poor and other institutions refusing to provide contraceptive healthcare coverage to their employees. Trump ordered the Departments of Treasury, Labor (DOL), and Health and Human Services (HHS) to, “consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive care mandate.  . . . ” There can be no doubt that HHS Secretary Tom Price will be doing just that — and vigorously.

What is likely the most important section of the executive order is addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “In order to guide all agencies in complying with relevant Federal law, the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.” As head of the Department of Justice, which is still pursuing the case against Little Sisters of the Poor, Sessions has been effectively charged with realizing the promises made in the Rose Garden on May 4.

Given his conservative, pro-life record as an Alabama senator, no one doubts how Jeff Sessions will shape the Department of Justice. Session’s leadership is surely one of the reasons civil rights groups immediately announced their intention to oppose the executive order.

Not surprisingly, a group of atheists, under the banner of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed suit against the president and the IRS, fearing the IRS would “selectively and preferentially discontinue enforcement of the electioneering restrictions of the tax code against churches and religious organizations, while applying a more vigorous enforcement standard to secular nonprofits.”

The notion that the IRS would apply more “vigorous” standards to secular nonprofit organizations is of course bizarre. But again, much of the daily media bombardment of the Trump administration contains allegations based upon hearsay, leaks, unnamed sources, and postmodern paranoia. Today the progressive left has bought into the idea that freedom requires that all their opponents be silenced, even when they are exercising their sincere religious beliefs.

Sister Loraine Marie Claire Maguire, Mother Provincial of Little Sisters of the Poor has figured it out. Her statement was forthright and unqualified, “Today’s action by the government confirms that the government never needed to create this false conflict between women and religion.” One can imagine a smile coming to her face when she added, “The government never needed the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide these services,” that is, hand out contraception.

President Trump has been accused of making a media event out of his statement on religious liberty.

These critics should be asked: What is wrong with the president of the United States calling two of the Little Sisters of the Poor to the podium in the Rose Garden? How often have we seen a religious order of the Catholic Church featured in a nationally televised White House ceremony?

The image of President Trump, with a beaming Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. standing behind, welcoming the two sisters is a powerful affirmation to the nation’s 70 million Catholic citizens that they’re fully members of the American community.

You’ve have thought that that was pretty obvious. But apparently some people needed reminding.

Read Newsmax: Some Don’t See Blessing in Trump’s Protecting Religious Liberty | Newsmax.com
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By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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