Donald Trump signed an executive order which grants more power in US politics to religious leaders. Trump said that "the faith is deeply rooted in the history of the state" and he called the United States "a nation of tolerance that would never support religious discrimination".

Vice President Mike Pence said the decree emphasizes the "importance of prayer" in the United States and that Trump "firmly believes in God and the American people." Trump's rhetoric about religious discrimination has sparked off some critics because of his attitude toward Muslims and the "Muslim ban" regarding the US entry.

The decree protects the church from paying taxes

The Decree on "Promoting Freedom Of Speech and Religious Freedom" protects politically active churches and exempts them from paying taxes. Trump signed a new decree to abolish the Johnson's Amendment of the 1950s, which determined that religious leaders who support politicians must pay taxes. Trump thinks the amendment is "a tough financial penalty that limits the freedom of speech to religious institutions". "Now you can say what you want. I know you will only say good things," Trump told the group of religious leaders in the White House. "Freedom is not a gift of government, it is a gift from God".

"Our task is not dictating to others how to live," Trump said, adding that he wanted to work with his "Muslim allies in the fight against extremism." The Union for American Civil Liberties (ACLU) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CPR) intend to challenge the new decree.

The document cites the 2014 verdict that first recognized the religious rights of a company that refused to pay women health insurance because it involved contraception.

Trump will meet with the pope

President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis on May 24 in the Vatican. Trump will arrive in Rome before the NATO summit in Brussels and ahead of his visit to Sicily where he will attend the G7 summit of the world's most developed countries.

It was confirmed from the Vatican that Trump and pope Francis will meet on May 24 at 8.30 am in the Apostolic Palace. The two leaders are quite different in terms of issues about migrants and climate change. Commenting on Trump's attitudes on migrants and building a wall on the border with Mexico, Pope Francis last year said that those attitudes are not very "Christian." Trump, who grew up in a Presbyterian family, replied that it was "shameful" that the pope questioned his faith.

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