President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to free churches and other tax-exempt institutions of a 1954 U.S. law banning political activity, drawing fire from critics who accused him of rewarding his evangelical Christian supporters and turning houses of worship into political machines.
As Trump used a prayer breakfast to take aim at a long-standing statutory barrier between politics and religion called the Johnson Amendment, civil liberties and gay rights groups expressed concern that he might consider an executive order to allow government agencies and businesses to deny services to gay people in the name of religious freedom.
Trump did not reference such an order in his remarks. But he lambasted the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations such as churches and other places of worship, charities and educational institutions from directly or indirectly participating in any political campaign in favor or against a political candidate.
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