Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday the creation of a “religious liberty task force.”
The task force, which will be co-chaired by Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio as well as Beth Williams, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, is a somewhat delayed consequence of an executive order issued by the president in May.
On the National Day of Prayer, the president signed in the “faith initiative,” which would address issues of religious liberty in federal agencies and “help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs.”
Widespread alarm coursed through LGBTQ communities across the nation as the possibility for discrimination in the name of religion grew exponentially upon the signing of this order.
Now, Sessions has announced the creation of the task force to “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.”
He argues that “a dangerous movement” is making this country less accommodating towards people of faith, and that as a result, Americans feel that their right to freedom of religion is being attacked.
“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
Naturally, Sessions made his announcement during the Department of Justice’s Religious Liberty Summit and completely disregarded the fact that the president himself introduced a religious test for the position of supreme court justice when he expressly told the public that he would only nominate justices who would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.
To read an annotated copy of the religious liberty executive order, click here.