The new unit will aid the department in fully implementing the religious liberty legal “guidance” issued last year under President Donald Trump’s direction, Sessions said in a speech at the Justice Department’s Religious Liberty Summit in Washington.
A “dangerous movement, undetected by many, but real, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom …. It must be confronted … and defeated,” he added.
“We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives. We’ve seen United States senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma …. We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips,” Sessions added, referring to the Colorado baker who won a religious liberty challenge to LGBTQ anti-discrimination law in the U.S. Supreme Court after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Sessions called freedom of religion “indeed our first freedom being the first listed right in the First Amendment” and said that the Trump administration is “actively seeking to accommodate people of faith.”
Sessions touted his department’s prosecution of attacks on religion, among them court actions shielding about 90 plaintiffs from Obama-era requirements that employer health insurance cover contraception, an amicus brief “we were proud to file” on behalf of Phillips, and indictments in an arson attack and threats directed at two mosques.
Twitter exploded, with critics charging that the Religious Liberty Task Force was a front to protect religious zealots attacking LGBTQ rights and an unconstitutional push to marry church and state on the altar of Christianity.
The Religious Liberty Task Force sounds like the shittiest Justice League ever.
— shauna (@goldengateblond) July 30, 2018
“Religious Liberty Task Force”
Isn’t that something the Taliban would do?
— Bob Cobb (@BobCobb06638683) July 30, 2018
Jeff Sessions’ “Religious Liberty Task Force”:
• Is another example of Trump’s “solutions that don’t work to problems that don’t exist”
• Shows a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state
• Is the latest of this administration’s attempts to appease evangelicals pic.twitter.com/U9R28Umyjo
— Andrew Wortman (@AmoneyResists) July 30, 2018
ME: Hello, is this the Religious Liberty Task Force? Hi it’s an emergency! An entire group of gov’t officials split up thousands of families on the Southern border and it goes against every tenant of my religion, which advocates keeping the family together. Please come quick!
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) July 30, 2018
I’m sure that the new
“RELIGIOUS LIBERTY TASK FORCE”
Is a violation of separation between church and state
— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) July 30, 2018
I’ve got a great case for Trump’s new Religious Liberty Task Force! See a gang of hateful bigots implemented a Muslim Ban and this seems a textbook violation of religious liberty.
— Brando (@Brandossius) July 30, 2018
Today the US Government announced the creation of a ‘religious liberty task force.’
The prophecy is complete:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
— God (@TheGoodGodAbove) July 30, 2018
We need freedom from religion not freedom of religion.
— Goldie Pops (@busybrains) July 30, 2018
I am delighted that Religious Liberty Task Force will finally protect people who face problems because of their religions: Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and other religious minorities.
What? Oh, this is just about hating gays and forcing people to say Merry Christmas? What a shock.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) July 30, 2018
Jeff Sessions just announced they formed a Religious Liberty Task Force to ensure that all religious organizations have rights. Only by all organizations he means Christians, and by rights he means the freedom to impose their beliefs on others.
— Alt Fed Employee (@Alt_FedEmployee) July 30, 2018
The password to enter the Religious Liberty Task Force is Merry Christmas.
— Michael Blackman (@mikerblackman) July 30, 2018
The “Religious Liberty Task Force” is a cynical and cruel attempt to enable discrimination against LGBTQ people. That’s all this is. It has nothing to do with “religious liberty”. It’s about controlling the bedrooms and bodies of other people. It is opposite of freedom + faith.
— Charlotte Clymer️ (@cmclymer) July 30, 2018
In some states, it’s technically illegal for atheists to run for office.
The president wants to ban Muslims.
Jews face anti Semitic hate everyday.
But apparently, a Religious Liberty Task Force is needed to protect the MOST hurt group, the Christians.
Give me a freaking break.
— Emilia (@PoliticalEmilia) July 30, 2018
People are always asking me to do futurist prediction so here goes. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that the new Religious Liberty Task Force WON’T work on hate crimes and the surge in persecution of Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and other religious minorities. OK, somebody pay me.
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) July 30, 2018
Looking forward to seeing Jeff and company see that Muslims have a place and time for prayers five times a day, Sikhs knives are allowed in the workplace, and Rastafarians can blaze up to honor the Lion of Zion.
— Christopher Moore (@TheAuthorGuy) July 30, 2018
“Religious Liberty Task Force”
This probably sounds awesome if you’re Christian. Just remember there are over 140K denominations. Which one gets enforced? Yours today but maybe not tomorrow. This is how it starts. All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others pic.twitter.com/k2HQ95Bj6d
— B̤̿it̺̕B͓̚ur͍̒neȑ Ќɲ๏ώℓ€ďǥ€ ţяąɲ$ƒ€я ȼ๏ɲďµɨţ (@bitburner) July 30, 2018
The “Religious Liberty Task Force” is simply white supremacy and Christian supremacy masquerading as some kind of freedom for people of faith.
Don’t be fooled.
— Jason Chesnut-no-t-in-the-middle (@crazypastor) July 30, 2018
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.