Subject: President Donald J. Trump Is Safeguarding The Right To Religious Freedom For Students And Organizations

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2020


** PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP IS SAFEGUARDING THE RIGHT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR STUDENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS

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

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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.
+ 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 Trump’s longstanding commitment to safeguarding the fundamental right to religious freedom.
* During his first year in office, President Trump signed an Executive Order upholding religious liberty and the right to engage in religious speech.
* President Trump signed 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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