"Trump vows to scrap rule on Religious groups and campaign politics" PBS NewsHour 2/2/2017
COMMENT: I have longed believed that our Founding Fathers meant the freedom of religion to be a right of an individual, NOT a right of a group. That it means we cannot have laws that allow, or encourage, a religious belief to be enshrined in law and thereby FORCING everyone to practice the religious belief of others. That would turn our America into a theocracy like Iran, where the religious leaders have veto over any law passed by the legislator.
SUMMARY: President Trump used the annual National Prayer Breakfast to reignite an old campaign promise, to change the tax code to allow churches and other tax-exempt groups to openly campaign for political candidates. John Yang reports on that and more.
JOHN YANG (NewsHour): Today, President Trump revved up his new administration with a visit from Harley-Davidson executives and workers.
DONALD TRUMP: Boy, would you like to see me fall off these things? Would that be a story?
JOHN YANG: And used the annual National Prayer Breakfast to reignite a campaign promise, vowing to change the tax code to allow churches and other tax-exempt groups to openly campaign for political candidates.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that. Remember.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHN YANG: The provision wasn't controversial when then-senator Lyndon Johnson introduced it and President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law in 1954. Now some religious leaders, especially conservative Christians, say it violates their freedom of speech.
Speaking at the breakfast, Mr. Trump also defended his immigration order against critics who say it's a ban on Muslims.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: In the coming days, we will develop a system to help ensure that those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty, and that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination.
We want people to come into our nation, but we want people to love us and to love our values, not to hate us and to hate our values.
JOHN YANG: There were also lighter moments, as when the President suggested divine intervention for the current incarnation of his TV show, “The Apprentice.”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place. And we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It's been a total disaster. I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, OK?
JOHN YANG: Schwarzenegger responded on the President's favorite forum with a Twitter video.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Former California Governor: Hey, Donald, I have a great idea.
Why don't we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you're such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job. And then people can finally sleep comfortably again.