Is the Trump Administration Using Religion to Allow Discrimination?

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Credit Archdiocese of Baltimore

The federal government directive was issued today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had been tasked by Trump to head a "review" of religious liberty protections, after pressure from anti-LGBT lobbying groups.

"The President has instructed me to issue guidance interpreting relgious liberty protections in federal law".

"There is no religious exemption from basic human dignity", said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. It could also have an impact on pending legal disputes across the country.

Among other thing, the guidance adopts certain aspects of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA)-a key legislative priority of the Religious Right- as administration policy. "It also encompasses religious observance and practice".

Faith-based groups and members of Congress alike applauded Sessions' memo, expressing optimism that his guidance might help correct recent infringements on the religious rights of Americans.

This second point - that individuals do not have to remove themselves from civil society in order to retain their right to religious freedom - could also have implications in several high-profile lawsuits, largely revolving around the freedom of service providers such as florists, cake bakers, and photographers to decline same-sex weddings, based on their religious beliefs about marriage.

The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or not to act in accordance with one's religious beliefs.

He additionally explained that the government can not compel a person or organization to act contrary to their religion, stating that "a government action that bans an aspect of an adherent's religious observance or practice, compels an act inconsistent with that observance or practice, will qualify as a substantial burden on the exercise of religion". But the 17-page appendix setting forth the DOJ's analysis of federal "religious liberty" law devotes just one short paragraph to the Establishment Clause.

These principles recognize religious freedom as "an important, fundamental right" expressly protected by the Constitution and by federal law.

Officers recover 23 guns from Las Vegas shooter's hotel room
They said that Danley, who is Australian, had arrived in the Philippines more than a week before the shooting. Earlier it was reported that the shooter brought to the hotel room Mandalay Bay not more than 16 firearms.

Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the federal government can enforce laws that impose a significant burden on religious exercise only if it has a compelling interest, and if the regulation/law/requirement is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.

Government may not restrict or compel actions because of the belief they display.

The guidance also asserts that religious exemptions should be provided in cases in which the exemption could deprive a third party of a "benefit". The document takes a firm stand in insisting that RFRA be taken seriously and interpreted robustly.

"Religious adherents will often be required to draw lines in the application of their religious beliefs, and government is not competent to assess the reasonableness of such lines drawn, nor would it be appropriate for government to do so", reads the guidance, adding that the federal government may not force employers' to be complicit in violating an organization's religious precepts.

James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, criticized ABC News for its coverage of the group in July, after ABC News reported that Sessions delivered a closed-door address to the group at their Summit on Religious Liberty in California, where he suggested, according to a text of the speech later published by the conservative website The Federalist, religion was "under attack".

Generally, the federal government may not condition federal grants or contracts on the religious organization altering its religious character, beliefs, or activities.

A second memo by the attorney general directs implementation of the guidance within the Department of Justice. So courts have ruled this way. The church had initially been turned away because of its religious affiliation.

It is a nakedly political choice to declare that denying coverage is within the scope of one's religious freedom rights after all, and Sessions' attempt to cast this conclusion as the product of the neutral application of legal principles is misleading and disingenuous.

The fight over the proper role of religious liberty in the nation is far from over, however.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Brazil nursery arson attack: Four toddlers burnt alive
A security guard in province of Minas Gerais , Brazil, has lost five lives as a result of an attack on a flammable substance. PAEDO MISS Judge tells teacher jailed for sex with schoolboy 'who'd turn down that offer?'

Virat Kohli looks to extend domination in Steve Smith's
India has chosen to play Shikhar Dhawan instead of Ajinkya Rahane and Axar Patel will make way for Kuldeep Yadav. You need to execute your yorkers and you have to have a strong head to take your chances against the batsmen.

Google Will Focus On Offline Stores for Pixel 2 Sales in India
In addition to helping with translations, the Assistant can place phone calls, get directions and give you alerts at your command. It includes the same features featured in a cylindrical speaker that Google rolled out a year ago in response to Amazon's Echo.

Stuart Pearce explains what Hart needs to do to keep England spot
They don't have Champions League-winning medals throughout this group, they don't have Premier League-winning medals. The more we can play football which excites people and scores goals, the more we will win people over.

Harvey Weinstein masturbated in front of a former Fox News reporter?
She has not interacted with the movie mogul since. "Only possible now because of women with bigger names far braver than me", Ms. Weinstein of sexual harassment, even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel", she said.

Russian Federation in $3-bn missile defence deal with Saudi Arabia
The Kremlin talks were attended by Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, a mainly Muslim republic in Russia's south. King Salman's visit coincides with a Russia-Saudi investment forum in Moscow in which more than 200 firms are taking part.

Trump administration rolls back ObamaCare contraceptive mandate
Becerra said he several other attorneys general are considering filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration to have the rule tossed.

Bayern Munich Appoints Jupp Heynckes As Coach
The first is Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim and former Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is the second. This would be the 72-year-old's fourth spell with the German giants. "I'm looking forward to it".

Las Vegas massacre: Stephen Paddock booked hotel room overlooking other music festivals
She said in a statement released by her lawyer that she feared that might be his way of breaking up with her, but nothing more. He said Paddock lived a "secret life" and 'meticulously planned on the worst domestic attack in United States history'.

Ranked Rafael Nadal advances to China Open semis
When Nadal saved two match points against Frenchman Lucas Pouille , it was a contrast to his opener in the Chinese capital. Dimitrov followed that up with his first-ever win over Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 (5), 7-5 after trailing in both sets.

Researcher: 'Infotainment' Screens In Cars Putting Drivers In Danger
According to AAA, previous research shows that removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash. The researchers also concluded that frustration from trying to use hard systems leads to even more driver distraction .

Street Fighter V arcade mode confirmed by Amazon leak
This same release date was also mentioned by the previously reported listing , which means that it is probably not a placeholder. In addition, the new release features a new Arcade mode , gallery , extra battle challenges, new V-Triggers, and new visuals .

Las Vegas shooter reportedly wired $100K to Philippines
The Daily Mail newspaper in the United Kingdom published several photos taken in Paddock's room after the shooting. The Las Vegas shooter's girlfriend says in a statement that she knew him "as a kind, caring, quiet man".

Motive for Las Vegas concert massacre baffles investigators
There was reason to believe that Paddock had a history of psychological problems, one official said. One rifle is also seen on the floor of the hotel room with a crime scene tag next to it.

'Hell In A Cell 2017' Kickoff Show Match Announced
Nakamura quickly got the upper hand on Mahal, but the Singhs jumped on him and allowed Mahal the opportunity to hit The Khallas. Question now is how will Shane McMahon react? It's expected that this match will serve as the main event of the show.

Other news