Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered remarks (full text) at today’s Department of Justice Religious Liberty Summit.  He said in part:I want to thank all of you for your courage and insight to speak out for religious liberty.Let us be frank.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.This President and this Department of Justice are determined to protect and even advance this magnificent heritage….[I]n recent years, the cultural climate in this country—and in the West more generally—has become less hospitable to people of faith. Many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack.And it’s easy to see why.  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.  We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips.Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds are concerned about what this changing cultural climate means for the future of religious liberty in this country.President Trump heard this concern.I believe this unease is one reason that he was elected.  In substance, he said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith.  He declared we would say “Merry Christmas” again….Today I am announcing our next step: the Religious Liberty Task Force, to be co-chaired by the Associate Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy—Jesse [Panuccio] and Beth [Williams].The Task Force will help the Department fully implement our religious liberty guidance by ensuring that 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.  That includes making sure that our employees know their duties to accommodate people of faith.As the people in this room know, you have to practice what you preach. We are also going to remain in contact with religious groups across America to ensure that their rights are being protected.  We have been holding listening sessions and we will continue to host them in the coming weeks.This administration is animated by that same American view that has led us for 242 years: that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/07/ag-sessions-announces-new-religious.html

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