If this was an actual repeal of the Johnson Amendment, I would be greatly alarmed. BUT, like many of Trump’s orders, this is sturm und drang aimed at mollifying his more conservative Evangelical Christian followers and as usual it failed to do even the job for which it was designed. I’ve read the order and some some excellent analyses of it. In the end, it boils down to little more than Trump instructing to tell the IRS to do something it does anyway. No religious leaders or organizations have actually been persecuted under the Johnson Amendment. It is more of a cautionary “Smokey Bear” threat looming in the horizon- and often ignored in the breech. During the recent election, especially, pastors took to the pulpits to give their opinions on both candidates and give moral guidance on politcal issues. And no IRS agents appeared at their doors.
The order also contains some language designed to give companies that are religiously owned and operated more leeway in terms of granting their employees birth control. WHY is this still an issue? There a work-around built into the ACA that allow the insurance company to do so, thus freeing the company itself doing so. (Don’t even get me started on Trumpcare.) But apparently this does not go far enough. I suppose religious organzations like Hobby Lobby (snort) and Little Sisters of the Poor want it taken totally off the table. I disagree that they should be allowed to do this. They are NOT in the business of healthcare and should not be allowed to dictate what healthcare their employees receive. But I digress. The language of Trump’s order about this is incredibly vague and doesn’t really say anything beyond a call to draft new rules letting businesses draft rules that would allow them to avoid giving employees contraception and that ALREADY is in place.
So. Trump by himself cannot repeal the Johnson Amendment. THAT takes an act of Congress. He is being sued by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (GO ATHEISTS!) on behalf of secularists everywhere, since the ACLU declined to bring suit. I would like to see what would happen if more pastors, priests, preachers, imams, rabbis, Pagans of all stripes, Hindus, Sikhs, Pastafarians, Satanists, etc started taking advantage of this “religious liberty” order! Let’s hear from ALL of you, not just Trump’s far-right anti-LGBTQ xenophobic Neo-Con Fundies! Let’s get political, people! Let’s PARTY…and I’m speaking DEMOCRAT SOCIALIST!