Religion

Jeff Sessions launches ‘religious liberty task force’ to avenge Christian hurt feelings

This Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is creating a “religious liberty task force” to help the agency fully implement President Trump’s executive order from last year.

The initiative will be co-chaired by Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, Beth Williams.

Sessions said Monday that the task force will “ensure all Justice Department components are upholding that guidance in the cases they bring and defend, the arguments they make in court, the policies and regulations they adopt, and how we conduct our operations.”

According to Sessions, America is growingly hostile to people of faith. Notably absent from Sessions’ comments were U.S. citizens who don’t practice any sort of faith. Also unknown is how the initiative will benefit those who find themselves on the receiving end of people who bring their religious dogma into the public sphere.

“We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives. We’ve seen U.S. senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma—even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office. We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips,” he said, referring to the Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

“In short, we have not only the freedom to worship—but the right to exercise our faith. The Constitution’s protections don’t end at the parish parking lot nor can our freedoms be confined to our basements,” he added.

Although Sessions made a passing reference to the Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu religions, it’s clear that the task force will be preoccupied by the compliants leveled by right-wing Christians.

“[Trump] said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith,” Sessions said. “He declared we would say ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”

While Trump’s evangelical base will likely welcome the task force’s mission, many across social media saw the announcement as just another bone thrown to religious conservatives who play up the persecution narrative.

“The Religious Liberty Task Force is a joke,” The Left founder Adam Best tweeted. “White Christians are the least discriminated against people in America. There are around 140M of them, so let’s not act like they are an oppressed minority. Jeff Sessions is appeasing evangelicals and attacking LGBTQ and women’s rights.”

Shakesville.com editor-in-chief Melissa McEwan said that the theocratic underpinnings of Sessions’ announcement are not blown out of proportion.

“We must be very blunt about the creation of the Religious Liberty Task Force,” she tweeted. “It’s another huge step forward in the Trump Regime’s creation of a regressive Christian white ethnostate. And if that sounds like hyperbole to you, you’re not paying attention.”

Similar sentiments were shared widely across Twitter after the announcement:

https://twitter.com/cmclymer/status/1023938926791352323

Watch video of Session’s announcement below:

Featured image via screen grab

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