For Immediate Release: July 30, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
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The Justice Department’s “Religious Liberty Task Force” will levy the power of the nation’s highest law enforcement body to impose the beliefs and values of the Religious Right on the American public. Responding to today’s announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Center for Inquiry characterized the task force as nothing less than a means to legitimize and even enforce discrimination against marginalized groups.
“We firmly support the freedom of all individuals to follow any faith or none at all, but let’s not kid ourselves that Sessions is in any way concerned with upholding the freedom enshrined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” said Jason Lemieux, the Center for Inquiry’s Director of Government Affairs. “At a time when the Department of Justice sought to force a teenage girl to give birth against her will, Sessions’ enthusiasm for discrimination and the formation of this vindictive task force exposes his extremist, Religious Right agenda.”
In his remarks, Sessions lamented the “ordeal” that baker Jack Phillips “bravely” faced when his desire to discriminate against a same-sex couple was brought before the Supreme Court, but did not spare a word for the victims of discrimination.
“By conflating the serious harms suffered by the victims of religiously-based discrimination with the negligible inconveniences of individuals and businesses who seek to perpetrate that discrimination, Attorney General Sessions showed his true colors,” said Lemieux. “He plainly seeks to force women, LGBTQ individuals, atheists, and others to submit to the will of the Religious Right. His so-called ‘Religious Liberty Task Force’ is a farce that makes a mockery of freedom, further entrenching the Religious Right’s privilege to execute their bigotry in all areas of public life.”