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President Trump is Safeguarding the Right to Religious Freedom for Students, Organizations

BNA Staff

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President Donald J. Trump listens as William McLeod, a fourth grader from Utah, speaks during the Announcement of the Guidance on Constitutional Prayer in Public Schools Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 — The White House issued the following fact sheet on religious freedom in schools: Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.

PROTECTING PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: President Donald J. Trump remains committed to protecting every student’s constitutional right to pray in school.

– The Trump Administration is taking action to further safeguard students’ constitutionally protected right to pray in school.

– President Trump is updating Federal guidance regarding protected prayer and religious expression in public schools, which has not been issued since 2003.

o The update will help safeguard students’ rights by giving education providers and students the most current information concerning prayer in public schools.

– To receive Federal funds, local educational agencies must confirm that their policies do not prevent or interfere with the constitutionally-protected rights outlined in the guidance.

– The updated guidance will help improve individuals’ ability to file a complaint if they are denied the ability to participate in protected religious expression.

– The new guidance makes clear that students can read religious texts or pray during recess and other non-instructional periods, organize prayer groups, and express their religious beliefs in their assignments.

PROMOTING EQUAL TREATMENT: The Administration is working to ensure that our Nation’s religious organizations are treated equally by the Federal government.

– The Administration is issuing nine proposed rules to protect religious organizations from unfair and unequal treatment by the Federal government.

o The proposed rules would eliminate burdensome Obama-era requirements that unfairly imposed unique regulatory burdens only on religious organizations.

– The Office of Management and Budget is also releasing a memo requiring Federal agencies to ensure that the grant-making practices of state recipients of Federal funding comply with the First Amendment.

– The Trump Administration is committed to ensuring religious organizations can compete on a level playing field for funding, without discrimination.

CHAMPIONING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: These actions build on President  longstanding commitment to safeguarding the fundamental right to religious freedom.

– During his first year in office, President   an Executive Order upholding religious liberty and the right to engage in religious speech.

– President   an Executive Order recognizing the essential contributions of faith-based organizations and establishing the Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

– The Administration continues to unequivocally stand up for religious liberty in the courts.

– President Trump reversed the Obama-era policy that prevented the government from providing disaster relief to religious organizations.

– Last year, President Trump hosted a Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom event at the United Nations and called on the international community and business leaders to work to protect religious freedom around the world.

– The Administration has stood up for religious liberty around the world, partnering with local and faith-based organizations to provide assistance to vulnerable religious minorities.



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