Trump eases ban on political activity by churches

President Donald Trump gestures to the media
President Trump signed an executive order Thursday making it easier for churches and other religious groups to engage in politics without endangering their tax-exempt status.

Trump approved the measure in the Rose Garden at the White House surrounded by clergy and leaders of faith organizations during a National Day of Prayer event.

“Today my administration is leading by example as we take historic steps to protect religious liberty in the United States of America,” the president said. “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.”

The measure is designed to ease enforcement of a provision in the federal tax code known as the Johnson Amendment that bars religious institutions from endorsing or opposing political candidates and parties. It directs the IRS to “exercise maximum enforcement discretion” of the amendment, according to the White House.