NEW: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces "Religious Liberty Task Force."— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2018
Sessions says the task force will "help the Department fully implement our religious liberty guidance," including "making sure our employees know their duties to accommodate people of faith." pic.twitter.com/R6s2CYmdue
Jeff Sessions doesn’t seem convinced his role as attorney general requires him to serve all Americans equally. So while he battles the LGBTQ community, Sessions announced a “religious liberty” task force, giving religious groups special protection from the federal government.
After President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to uphold religious liberty and political speech, Sessions announced on Monday that the new 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.”
Co-chaired by Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy Beth Williams, the task force seeks to serve as a response to what the administration deems a cultural climate that has become less welcoming to religious people.
But while he mentioned Christian factions that are under attack, no word was uttered regarding the Muslim-Americans who have felt the need to hide their religious identity in the era of Trump.
Jeff Sessions stated he is creating a "Religious Liberty Task Force" to protect people of faith.*— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) July 30, 2018
(*Terms and conditions apply. Muslims, Sikhs, atheists, and other non-Christian affiliations are not covered.)
“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,” Sessions added.
He even mentioned the Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
“We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips,” he triumphantly said, long after the Supreme Court ruled on the case, siding with the baker on the basis that the state discriminated against his Christian beliefs when it upheld its anti-discriminatory laws.
“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.
While nobody would reject the idea of protecting the First Amendment rights of all religious groups as well as others, such as the members of the LGBTQ community, it’s clear that Sessions is singling out groups because of their proximity to the administration. The same way they are choosing their so-called enemies based on the groups they dislike or disagree with.
On Oct. 4, 2017, Sessions’ office sent a memo to U.S. attorneys as well as heads of all agencies within the Department of Justice alerting he had reversed a former federal government policy clarifying that transgender people are a protected class and cannot be discriminated against in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
One of his first actions as attorney general was to walk back on the guidance issued by President Barack Obama that protected transgender students also under federal civil rights law. Making it clear, right off-the-bat, that he was not willing to protect all Americans equally.
The Religious Liberty Task Force is a joke. 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.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) July 30, 2018
With this religious liberty task force, Sessions proves his loyalty lies with the religious groups backing politicians like himself — not Americans of all backgrounds.