Friday, May 04, 2018

White House Marks National Day of Prayer With Executive Order On New Faith Initiative

Yesterday the White House marked National Day of Prayer with a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House.  Vice President Pence delivered remarks (full text) followed by a 15-minute address by President Trump (full text) in which he announced that he would be signing a new Executive Order to create a faith initiative at the White House.  Later in the day the President signed an Executive Order on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative (full text).  The Executive Order replaces President Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives with an Advisor to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.  The Initiative is to:
 (iii)  make recommendations to the President... regarding changes to policies, programs, and practices that affect the delivery of services by faith-based and community organizations....
(v)    showcase innovative initiatives by faith-based and community organizations that serve and strengthen individuals, families, and communities throughout the United States;
(vi)   notify the Attorney General ... of concerns raised by faith-based and community organizations about any failures of the executive branch to comply with protections of Federal law for religious liberty.... 
(vii)  identify and propose means to reduce... burdens on the exercise of religious convictions and legislative, regulatory, and other barriers to the full and active engagement of faith-based and community organizations in Government-funded or Government-conducted activities and programs.
The White House also issued a Fact Sheet titled President Donald J. Trump Stands Up For Religious Freedom In The United States.  Washington Post reports on these developments.