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US archbishop cautious in response to Trump’s religious-freedom order

May 15, 2017

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who chairs a committee on religious freedom for the US bishops’ conference, gave cautious approval to the Trump administration’s executive order on religious freedom, in an interview with the Crux news site, but remarked that “the devil is in the details.”

Archbishop Lori said that there remains “work ahead of us” in ensuring religious freedom. Specifically regarding the contraceptive mandate in federal health-care policy, he said that he was waiting for assurance that the Trump Administration would go beyond “another ‘accommodation’ that we have to fool around with.” He argued that the problem could be resolved by defining “preventive services” in such a way that “they really do pertain to preventing diseases and not to inducing abortions or preventing birth.”

The Trump order lifted the “Johnson Amendment,” which threatened the tax-exempt status of chuches that endorsed political candidates. Archbishop Lori did not view that action as one of critical importance, however. Political endorsements, he observed, are “really not our job.”


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