Monday, July 30, 2018

Sessions Announces New Anti-Gay Task Force Under Guise of "Religious Liberty"

The euphemism in today's Republican Party for rolling back LGBT rights is "protecting "religious liberty."  Of course, only one set of religious belief is protected under the Trump/Republican Party Agenda: extreme right wing Christian beliefs.  The religious beliefs and civil rights of all others falls before the Christofascists push to make their beliefs supreme and their ability to discriminate against others whether based on sexual orientation or, I suspect before their quest is over, race and skin color.  Pushing this Christofascist agenda is Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, and his ever foul Attorney General, Jeff Sessions - a man I have had the acquaintance of since the late 1970's. As CNN reports, Sessions - acting no doubt on Trump's orders so as to maintain the loyalty of his utterly immoral evangelic base - has announced a new task force to implement the Trump Justice Departments effort to grant special rights to Christofascists and exempt them from public accommodation and non-discrimination laws.  Here are article highlights (in reading the piece, be mindful that "religious groups" only encompass far right Christian groups):
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday announced the Department of Justice's creation of a "religious liberty task force" to "help the department fully implement our religious guidance."
Sessions said the goal of the task force will be protecting religious groups from persecution.
"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," Sessions said. "That includes making sure that our employees know their duties to accommodate people of faith."
 Sessions cited "a dangerous movement" aimed toward stripping away the First Amendment right to freedom of religion as a basis for forming the new task force.  "A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom," Sessions said in his speech. "There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated."

Slate provides more context and notes that references to non-right wing Christian traditions appear to be merely disingenuous window dressing to deceive the gullible or to toss a talking point to militant Christofascists.  Here are excerpts:
Sessions mentioned the Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu religions and proclaimed that the DOJ would protect all adherents from discrimination. But in arguing that it was an “unease” over a “changing cultural climate” that motivated Trump voters and the administration’s religious-liberty policies, Sessions seemed to refer more to the complaints of the Christian right. “[Trump] said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith,” Sessions said. “He declared we would say ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”
In October 2017, Sessions released a vague memo that instructed federal agencies to observe 20 “principles of religious liberty.” Activists for LGBTQ and women’s rights worried at the time that the proclamation gave broad permission for religious groups to ignore federal civil rights laws.
“Under this administration, the federal government is not just reacting—we are actively seeking, carefully, thoughtfully and lawfully, to accommodate people of faith,” he said. “Religious Americans are no longer an afterthought.”

Sadly, the rights of everyone other than Christofascists will now be an after thought and the concept of a secular civil society will be further undermined. Having followed the far Christian right for over two decades, the move is no surprise to me.  Literally no one in American society is more self-centered, selfish and uncaring to others than the "godly Christian" evangelicals.  They make a mockery of the Gospel message and, if America is lucky, will accelerate the exodus from religion by Millennials and others as Christianity as imposed by the Christofascists becomes something to be reviled and avoided. 

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