The Trump administration has created a Religious Liberty Task Force, led by pro-life Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in order to protect and promote religious liberty.
The new task force is important for pro-life Americas as it will work to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals who don’t want to be forced to promote or perform abortions. Pro-life groups have also faced discrimination because of their Christian views and pastors have been unable to fully engage pro-life election issues in the pulpit for fear of reprisal from the government.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “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,” he added.
Leading pro-life advocates applauded the creation of the Religious Liberty Task Force.
Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The establishment of a Religious Liberty Task Force is an historic and positive step by the Trump administration to protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience. Today’s announcement by the Department of Justice is encouraging, and the Trump administration is to be commended for making this 180-degree turn from the past administration which used the federal government to violate religious freedom and conscience rather than protecting our first freedom. This task force sends a strong message that there is a commitment to protecting religious freedom.”
Sessions added: “This President and this Department of Justice are determined to protect and even advance this magnificent heritage. Freedom of religious is indeed our “first freedom”—being the first listed right of our First Amendment. This has been a core American principle from the beginning. It is one of the reasons that this country was settled in the first place.”
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“But in 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,” he added.
“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 noted.
The attorney general pointed out how the Trump administration ended the Obama administration’s crusade against pro-life Americans who don’t want to be forced to pay for abortion drugs.
“The Department of Justice has settled 24 civil cases with 90 plaintiffs regarding the previous administration’s wrong application of the contraception mandate to objecting religious employers,” he said. “Last month, a district court in Colorado issued a permanent injunction in the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who serve the elderly poor. This is a permanent injunction and a major victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor and religious freedom. The government has no business telling the Little Sisters that they must provide an insurance policy that violates their sincere religious beliefs.”