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Wisconsin-based atheist group sues President Trump over church order

WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 25: (AFP-OUT) US President Donald Trump signs the Executive Order Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America during a roundtable with farmers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

MADISON — A Wisconsin-based atheist group has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to strike down President Donald Trump’s order aimed at easing an IRS rule limiting religious organizations’ political activity.

A 1954 law prohibits tax-exempt charitable organizations, such as churches, from participating in political campaigns. President Trump signed an executive order Thursday directing the Treasury Department not to take “adverse action” against churches or religious organizations for political speech.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit on Thursday arguing that President Trump’s order gives churches preferential treatment in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

A message left at the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday seeking a response to the lawsuit wasn’t immediately returned.