By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
WASHINGTON D.C — Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues on his never ending quest to roll back all of the progress made by the LGBT community over the past few years by issuing government-wide legal guidance that urges sweeping protection for religious freedom that could impact a huge amount of pending policy decisions which involve LGBT rights, health care and disaster relief.
Sessions boasted about his 25-page memo highlighting 20 principal items protecting religious freedoms were directed to all federal agencies as a response to the executive order President Donald Trump signed in a photo-op back in May which promotes “religious liberty” which unfortunately, steps on the rights of LGBT citizens of the United States.”
President Trump’s executed order caused a major civil war within the administration as religious and social conservatives pressed for positive treatment that could essentially allow them to ignore anti-discrimination requirements, particularly for sexual orientation, while the moderate forces inside the administration warned that upending existing protections would trigger an uproar that could derail other administration priorities. With the hot water and lack of legislative accomplishments in his first year in office, the administration saw to ignore their crisis and instead continue to target the LGBT community with more discrimination policies.
“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place,” wrote Sessions. “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.” concluded Sessions.
“The legal analysis was unveiled as the Trump administration is considering a series of policy moves that could broaden the rights of the religious, including allowing churches more latitude to enter political campaigns without jeopardizing their tax exemptions and permitting religious institutions to receive more types of disaster relief funds. The administration also announced Friday that businesses of all sizes with religious or moral objections to providing contraception coverage or other preventative services under Obamacare will be allowed to opt out of that requirement.”
On Friday White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the administration’s announcements claiming that they are clearly in line with Supreme Court precedent.
“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,” Sanders said. “The Supreme Court’s already made clear what their position is, and it supports what this administration has done.” said Sanders.
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