Why Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty Left Many Conservatives Dissatisfied

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President Trump signed an executive order “promoting free speech and religious liberty” on Thursday. The final version of the order addresses two issues. First, it instructs the Internal Revenue Service to “not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization” that endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit, which is currently outlawed by a provision typically referred to as the Johnson Amendment. “We are giving churches their voices back,” Trump said during a ceremony in the Rose Garden. Second, it instructs the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider amending regulations in the Affordable Care Act that require most employers to cover contraception in employee insurance plans. A number of  religious non-profit organizations have been litigating their objections to this requirement.

The order directs the government “to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” It’s a first step toward fulfilling Trump’s campaign promises to social conservatives, but the order is much less aggressive than many religious-liberty advocates had hoped. In February, a supposed draft of an executive order on religious issues was leaked to The Nation. That version—reportedly written by a staffer with the D.C. office of the First Liberty Institute, a Texas law firm that focuses on First Amendment issues—contained provisions designed to protect religious organizations and individuals who speak out against same-sex marriage, transgender identity, and pre-marital sex. It was a menu of sorts, a list of possible issues Trump could address from the Oval Office early in his tenure as president. While Trump has earned the support of a number of high-profile religious conservatives, others are deeply unhappy with the president’s first big move on what they see as religious-liberty issues.


Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty



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A Major Infrastructure Bill Clears Congress

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Congress scored the first of what could be a series of bipartisan year-end victories late Thursday night with the final passage of a $305 billion measure to fund roads, bridges, and rail lines.

The five-year infrastructure bill is the longest reauthorization of federal transportation programs that Congress has approved in more than a decade, ending an era of stopgap bills and half-measures that left the Highway Trust Fund nearly broke and frustrated local governments and business groups. President Obama will sign the bill into law, as it fulfills his long-running push for lawmakers to pass an infrastructure bill even though it is significantly less than the $478 billion he sought in his own plan earlier this year.

The Senate approved the highway bill on an 83-16 vote. All but two Democrats—Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper—voted for it. Among the 14 Republican opponents were three of the four presidential candidates serving in the Senate: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul. (Senator Bernie Sanders missed the vote.) The House cleared it, 359-65, earlier on Thursday. It won unanimous support from Democrats and opposition mainly from conservatives. Negotiators had struck a deal on the legislation only on Tuesday, but the House and Senate needed to act quickly before the Highway Trust Fund again ran dry.


Rich Pedroncelli / AP


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The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

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Politicians are suddenly eager to disown failed policies on American prisons, but they have failed to reckon with the history. Reconsidering Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on “The Negro Family,” 50 years later.


!!!!!BN2015-9-14NEW COATES OPUS1Image: Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post



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The Case for Reparations

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Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

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The Top 5 Neuroscience Breakthroughs of 2013

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If 2012 was the year neuroscience exploded into pop culture, 2013 was the year it stepped into the halls of power.
The Obama administration’s $100-million BRAIN Initiative stirred up furious debate, as proponents cheered to see so much funding and press attention thrown at large-scale efforts to map the human brain, while opponents claimed that the whole thing might be a gigantic waste of valuable resources. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the European Union’s Human Brain Project sparked similar disputes – disputes that continue even as unexpected breakthroughs have begun to surface.
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Famine in East Africa



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With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 11 million people, the United Nations has declared a famine in the region for the first time in a generation. Overcrowded refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are receiving some 3,000 new refugees every day, as families flee from famine-stricken and war-torn areas. The meager food and water that used to support millions in the Horn of Africa is disappearing rapidly, and families strong enough to flee for survival must travel up to a hundred miles, often on foot, hoping to make it to a refugee center, seeking food and aid. Many do not survive the trip. Officials warn that 800,000 children could die of malnutrition across the East African nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya. Aid agencies are frustrated by many crippling situations: the slow response of Western governments, local governments and terrorist groups blocking access, terrorist and bandit attacks, and anti-terrorism laws that restrict who the aid groups can deal with — not to mention the massive scale of the current crisis. Below are a few images from the past several weeks in East Africa.


Lamentations 4:9
9  Those killed by the sword are better off
    than those who die of hunger.
Starving, they waste away
    for lack of food from the fields.


Millions of East Africans are suffering and need all the help they can get. 

The US is also, suffering a drought, lets hope it doesn’t get this bad.


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