The ACLU has announced the next lawsuit against Donald Trump, before the current POTUS even signed the order in question. ACLU Nationwide warned the public yesterday about the executive order Trump was expected to sign today, explaining why it would be problematic, and adding, “Don’t worry. We’ll be suing.” The text Trump ended up signing left out some of the matters the ACLU had warned about, but the organization has promised to follow through despite that.
“Religious exercise is protected. Using religion to discriminate or harm others should not be.”
The ACLU posted a video on March 14 explaining why religious freedom laws, such as the one that had just been signed in South Dakota, can be ruled unconstitutional: that the right to exercise one’s religion does not supersede other people’s right to exist.
On May 3, the ACLU shared the video again, this time in a context directed not toward a single state law, but an executive order that Donald Trump is expected to sign which would affect the nation as a whole. ACLU Nationwide re-posted the video on their Facebook page, describing Trump’s anticipated order, and declaring their own intentions.
“Tomorrow President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that would allow people to use their religion as an excuse to discriminate (Don’t worry, we’ll be suing).”
According to NBC, Trump ended up signing an order that contained fewer provisions than the expected one, simply relaxing rules about the ways in which religious organizations can dabble in politics and still maintain their tax-exempt status.
However, the ACLU did not back down from their promise to pursue action against Donald Trump’s order, responding with a promise.
“We will see Trump in court, again.”
On President Trump’s Twitter feed Wednesday and Thursday, POTUS shared videos about the executive order, retweeting Fox and Friends and sharing his own link to the White House website.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) May 4, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2017
A White House live video posted on Facebook presented Donald Trump celebrating the National Day of Prayer and signing the executive order, declaring as follows.
“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced ever again.”
The ACLU released a statement, the full text of which can be read here, reiterating the intent to file suit immediately. In it, Executive Director Anthony D. Romero describes the order Donald Trump signed as the following.
“…thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate. It’s a dual dose of pandering to a base and denying reproductive care.”
The ACLU has already sued Trump over other orders they say promote discrimination, such as his travel ban and his sanctuary city order, resulting in Trump tweeting angrily about the Ninth District Court and its ruings against him.
First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017
Some religious organizations and leaders have since praised Donald Trump’s order, including Franklin Graham and the Family Research Council.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) May 4, 2017
— FRC (@FRCdc) May 4, 2017
Meanwhile, the ACLU was not the only organization to express concerns, with the Freedom From Religion Foundation addressing Donald Trump and his executive order on religious freedom, as well as his assertions regarding the National Day of Prayer. Attorney Andrew Seidel tweeted, sharing a statement from the FFRF decrying Trump’s use (and re-use) of the claim that America is a nation of believers.
— Andrew Seidel (@AndrewLSeidel) May 4, 2017
“We are not a nation of believers.
“Almost a quarter of Americans identify as nonreligious, according to Pew Research. That eight-point increase since 2007 and 15-point jump since 1990 makes the ‘Nones’ the fastest-growing identification in America.”
Seidel also corrected the assertion that the Johnson Amendent “silences” churches and religious leaders.
The Johnson Amendment (1954) does not stop churches from talking issues, just explicit endorsements from the pulpit.
— Andrew Seidel (@AndrewLSeidel) May 4, 2017
The ACLU has promised to file suit before the end of the day to fight Donald Trump’s latest executive order.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]