During the Department of Justice’s Religious Liberty Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he will be assembling a “religious liberty task force” within the department. He says it will work to defend and protect the rights and freedoms of religious communities and individuals in the country.
Sessions declared that the task force will help the Department of Justice uphold religious liberty 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,” Sessions continued, “making sure our employees know their duties to accommodate people of faith.” Sessions also noted that the task force will keep in touch with various religious groups and organizations “to ensure that their rights are being protected,” adding that they have already met and reached out to many of them.
According to CBS News, Sessions was applauded for his speech by religious and conservative groups alike and went on to warn his audience of a potentially “dangerous movement” taking shape across the country, that he claims is attempting to squander the religious liberties and protections of Americans.
“A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom,” Sessions said. “There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.”
Sessions then plugged the upcoming midterm elections, claiming that this movement could potentially be put to rest if religious citizens voted for the right candidates in November. “This election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends,” he said. “Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, but by intellectual victories.”
Sessions, who has long been an advocate for “religious freedom”, praised a recent Supreme Court decision ruling in favor of Colorado baker Jack Philips, who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Referring to an Obama era policy requiring contraceptives to be covered by religious groups’ health plans, the attorney general then went on to falsely assert that that government was trying to force nuns to purchase birth control, a policy that faith-based organizations claim violates their beliefs.
Sessions continued, “I can assure you that people in Washington the extent to which our religious community is with the American people in times of birth, death, marriage, divorce, and those kind of situations that are so impactful to human beings. And I believe we need to respect that and affirm it wherever possible.”