On religious liberty, a less than overwhelming executive order

I’ve got an op-ed at the New York Daily News about President Trump’s executive order taking a few generally small and measured steps toward accommodation of and favorable legal treatment toward religious belief. Excerpt:

On Wednesday, social media was filled with outcry about the sweeping, “Handmaid’s Tale”-like provisions of the executive order on religious liberty President Trump was preparing to sign Thursday….

What the White House unveiled Wednesday night was far more modest. In fact, it dropped about 96% of the controversial stuff that had circulated in the January draft, including many provisions that in my view were misconceived …

There is also [in the tax section of the order] a cryptic reference to having agencies defer more broadly to speech rights beyond the context of the IRS and campaigns, which lawyers are likely to look at closely in coming days just in case it proves to be something big….

Significantly, according to advance reports, a White House official indicates that there are no plans for any additional executive order on LGBT discrimination issues.

Organized gay groups, committed to keeping their base in a constant state of alarm, will be reluctant to admit that this is a big win for their cause.

More: Ilya Shapiro at Cato, Ed Morrissey, and my post on the earlier draft.

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