Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said on Friday that President Donald Trump is keeping the most important promise he made on the campaign trail.
“I believe that the defense of our religious freedom is the most important,” Perkins told Breitbart News at FRC Action’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.
Perkins cited the executive order issued by Trump in May. The order directed the Department of Justice to issue guidelines to help “the executive branch in formulating and implementing policies with implications for the religious liberty of persons and organizations in America, and to further compliance with the Constitution.”
One week ago, on Oct. 6, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced those guidelines and said in a statement:
Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people. It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe. Every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith. The protections for this right, enshrined in our Constitution and laws, serve to declare and protect this important part of our heritage.
As President Trump said, ‘Faith is deeply embedded into the history of our country, the spirit of our founding and the soul of our nation . . . [this administration] will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.’
The constitutional protection of religious beliefs and the right to exercise those beliefs have served this country well, have made us one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and have also helped make us the freeist and most generous. President Trump promised that this administration would ‘lead by example on religious liberty,’ and he is delivering on that promise.
“There’s still more work to be done, but [Trump] is committed to that; he has followed through on that and I believe that is the most important promise that he made, because from that we advocate for everything else we believe in as Christians,” Perkins said. “To be able to fully live out our faith in the public square, the marketplace, the realm of education, government — wherever that is.”
Perkins also told Breitbart News that he believes that Congress will repeal the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the U.S. tax code that, since 1954, has prohibited all non-profit organizations, including pastors in the pulpit, from expressing political speech.
“This does not allow churches and non-profits to use money to advance a candidate or to advance a political cause,” Perkins said, citing that those opposed to its repeal mischaracterize what the results would be.
“What is does is it restores the free speech rights of pastors and other nonprofits to speak into the political realm,” Perkins said.