Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created a religious liberty task force to “protect and promote religious liberty.”
Speaking from the Justice Department in Washington, Sessions said the task force, which he will chair, is to help implementation of the religious liberty memo he signed in October.
That 25-page memo outlines 20 guiding principles that federal agencies can use to protect religious liberty in employment, contracting and programming.
We all know that "religious liberty" is code for "Christian supremacy," when the "Christian" is a particularly noxious form of Old Testament atrocities.
Joe also refers to Sessions' announcement from the DOJ website. You can read it, but turn your irony meter off:
A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.
This election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends. Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, but by intellectual victories.
We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Sounds like it was written by Tony Perkins. There's not a word of truth in it. That "dangerous movement" is simply the trend toward recognizing the rights of those that right-wing "Christians" don't approve of.
This just puts the seal on the pattern we've seen emerging since Trump took office. A few headlines, with links (with thanks to commenter Gregory in Seattle):
The State Department Is Retroactively Revoking Transgender Women’s Passports, Report Says
U.S. Justice Dept. Files Brief Rejecting LGBTQ Workplace Protections
Trump has declared war on LGBTQ rights. Here’s everything he’s done so far
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, the stupidest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman, is ecstatic. I guess he figures that now his outfit can win a case. And Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the worst anti-gay hate groups, is right on board. This article shows just how incestuous this whole thing is.
On July 30, Sessions launched a new “Religious Liberty Task Force” that would enforce discriminatory religious exemptions guidance that the DOJ released in October 2017. (Sessions had worked with ADF on the guidance before its release.) Religious exemptions policies, such as those the DOJ released, allow people and businesses to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws and policies by citing a burden on their religious beliefs. People have frequently used the exemptions to discriminate against the LGBTQ community and others.
ADF was one of the first to break the news of the July 30 “Religious Liberty Summit” in which the task force was announced, noting that the event would feature a panel including the group’s client Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple and who took his case to the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commision. ADF’s news release, however, did not mention that the panel’s moderator, DOJ media affairs specialist Kerri Kupec, worked at ADF for four years before joining DOJ in January. During his remarks, Sessions said that the DOJ had “been holding listening sessions” with “religious groups across America,” which ADF has acknowledged it has been involved with in the past. Extreme anti-LGBTQ group Liberty Counsel has already praised the announcement of the task force.
I'm sure I'll be adding to this as more bigots are heard from.
Fasten your seatbelts -- it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Melissa McEwen has a succinct and accurate assessment:
We must be very blunt about the creation of the Religious Liberty Task Force: It's another huge step forward in the Trump Regime's creation of a regressive Christian white ethnostate.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) July 30, 2018
And if that sounds like hyperbole to you, you're not paying attention.