U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recently changed his focus to religious rights in America. This morning, he announced a “Religious Liberty Task Force,” which is a force aimed at making the country more acceptable to religious organizations.
At a press conference upon the announcement, Sessions said, “You have to practice what you preach.”
The task force will ensure the Justice Department is upholding President Trump’s executive order to protect religious freedom. According to Sessions, it will do so “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.”
NEW: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces “Religious Liberty Task Force.”
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
— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2018
Justice Department employees will be required to understand how to accommodate people of faith, and continue conversations with religious groups to “ensure their rights are being protected.”
The executive order that led to the task force states, “it shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom and respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech.”
Sessions added that “religious Americans are no longer an afterthought,” and, “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.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was quick to respond, replying to the announcement with a tweet saying, “Reminder: Religious freedom protects our right to our beliefs, not a right to harm others. The Department of Justice has no business licensing discrimination against LGBT people, women and religious minorities.”
Reminder: Religious freedom protects our right to our beliefs, not a right to harm others.
The Department of Justice has no business licensing discrimination against LGBT people, women, and religious minorities. https://t.co/KXtjusL2F7
— ACLU (@ACLU) July 30, 2018