According to Politico, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued legal guidance to the government, urging protections for religious freedom. This guidance could influence a myriad of policy decisions being made at the federal level.
The 25-page memo was issued to all federal agencies in order to implement the executive order President Donald Trump signed in May to promote religious liberty. Trump’s order ignited a heated debate between conservatives and liberals over the amount of freedom companies should retain when practicing their religious faith.
“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place,” Sessions wrote in the memo. “Except in the narrowest of circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law. Therefore, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting and programming.”
The Trump administration has been looking at implementing policies that may broaden the rights of religious institutions. This could include giving churches more freedom to become involved in political campaigns without having to worry about losing their tax-exempt status. It might also allow churches to receive more types of disaster relief funding.
On Friday, the Trump administration also announced that they removed the Obamacare mandate that requires businesses to provide contraception coverage even if it violates their religious beliefs. Officials in the administration have also been debating whether or not to revoke policy that prevents federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the president decided not to follow through with this move.
Naturally, Sessions’ memo received its share of criticism from the left. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the decision,
“The president believes that the freedom to practice one’s faith is a fundamental right in this country — and I think all of us do — and that’s all that today was about. Our federal government should always protect that right, and as long as Donald Trump is president, he will.”
People who disagree with the administration’s approach argue that it might result in discrimination against members of the LGBT community. Maggie Garrett of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said, “Religious freedom is a fundamental American value.” She added, “It doesn’t mean you can use religion as an excuse to discriminate or harm others. That’s exactly what these guidelines set up.”
Religious conservatives have praised the memo. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said, “President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued legal guidance to the government, urging protections for religious freedom. Do you feel your religious liberty is better protected under Trump administration?
This is a major move for the Trump administration. The president is keeping an important promise that he made to his constituents. It seems that we constantly hear of cases where Christian business owners are being coerced into supporting homosexual marriage — which violates their religious convictions.
The left has attempted to force these business owners to choose between adhering to their beliefs, or losing their livelihood. Make no mistake — many of these couples have deliberately targeted Christian business owners in order to make a political point.
There are plenty of businesses who will gladly bake cakes or take pictures for homosexual weddings. However, they focus on the ones whose religious convictions prevent them from doing so. If the administration continues along this path, it will severely hamper the left’s efforts against Christians who wish to practice their faith.