Rev. Franklin Graham is urging President Donald Trump to issue a controversial executive order protecting religious freedom, despite liberals being “up in arms” at the prospect.

The evangelist and president of Samaritan’s Purse wrote on Facebook yesterday that the issue was one of the reasons that millions of evangelicals and Catholics supported Trump in the election.

“For years, the Obama administration, many state governments, and judicial activists attacked core religious beliefs on life, marriage and religious freedom,” Graham wrote.

Last week, Christian Today reported on a draft of the proposed order, ‘Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom’, which was leaked to the liberal journal The Nation.

If enacted, the document would create wholesale exemptions for people and organisations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and transgender identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.

It seeks specifically to protect the tax-exempt status of any organisation that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognised as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life”.

At the time of the leak, Graham’s office told Christian Today, “we like what we are hearing so far”.

In his post, Graham cited “numerous” examples across America where religious freedom was needed: “florists, bakers, photographers, nuns, and pharmacists who refused to act against their religious beliefs and convictions were sued, fined, and drug into court, all at great cost. Many lost their businesses and their families suffered greatly because they took a stand for their faith.”

“I hope and pray that President Trump will move forward with this executive order soon – despite threats from activists with their own agenda,” He concluded.

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