When the Trump administration announced that President Trump would be signing an executive order on “religious liberties” today, it was meant to unshackle people of faith from government chains on speech, supposedly. It was also thought to be a move to overturn the contraceptive mandate on religious institutions, put forth by Obamacare.
Of course, when the news of the EO was leaked, the usual suspects – and by “usual suspects” I mean the ACLU – geared up for their big sue party.
After the details of the EO were made known, however, the ACLU changed their tune.
We thought we'd have to sue Trump today. But it turned out the order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) May 4, 2017
Yup. The ACLU, probably for the first time in a very long time, have looked at an order issued by a “Republican” president and responded with a resounding, “Meh.”
Smoke and mirrors.
In a statement released after today’s signing, the ACLU said:
“Today’s executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome,” ACLU director Anthony Romero said in a statement.
“After careful review of the order’s text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process. The order portends, but does not yet do harm to the provision of reproductive health services,” Romero added.
A sue-happy, liberal ACLU lawyer is saying there’s nothing in today’s executive order worth suing over.
“President Trump’s prior assertion that he wished to ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment with this order has proven to be a textbook case of ‘fake news,’” Romero said.
“The directive to federal agencies to explore religious-based exceptions to healthcare does cue up a potential future battle, but as of now, the status quo has not changed,” he continued.
“What President Trump did today was merely provide a faux sop to religious conservatives and kick the can down the road on religious exemptions on reproductive health care services.”
President Trump has said numerous times that he intends to destroy the Johnson Amendment – something I’ve actually spoke against, mainly because I don’t believe campaigning from God’s pulpit and corrupting the purpose of the house of God should ever be a thing.
What he did today, however, is sign an EO that didn’t mention candidates, but “issues.” In other words, the order reasserted a right that religious institutions already have, and that is, they’re allowed to speak about “political issues” like abortion and gay marriage. They just can’t campaign for a particular candidate.
The order also mentioned the Obamacare mandate for contraceptive services and promised to “reexamine” the issue.
No, it didn’t strike down the mandate. It didn’t change anything that isn’t already in place. It just promised that administration officials would look into it, again.
So, basically, Trump signed a nearly-100 word nothingburger.
And you know it’s pretty lame when the ACLU lose their zeal for litigation.
Smoke. And. Mirrors.