WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions has formed the Religious Liberty Task Force to help implement the various legislation and policies that were put into place last year. The task force will be co-chaired by acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and Beth Williams, who is the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. At a July 30 meeting on religious freedom this year, Sessions told attendees, “A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter.
The executive branch of the federal government of the United States has gone biblical. On June 14, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible while responding to criticism of his April 6 announcement of a “zero-tolerance policy” for “illegal entry into the United States by an alien” and his May 7 statements that the Department of Justice would work with the Department of Homeland Security to take children away from anyone “smuggling” them into the country. The Attorney General’s comments were made one day after Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released a public statement denouncing Sessions’ decisions on family separation. After drawing connections between giving aid to asylum seekers, preserving the right to life, and protecting female victims of domestic violence, Cardinal DiNardo addressed the issue of young children:
Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB’s [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops] Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration’s zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma.
Washington — The U.S. Attorney General issued a new set of religious guidelines for all “administrative agencies and executive departments.” Published Oct.6, the memorandum, which was reportedly requested by President Donald Trump, seeks to provide guidance and instruction concerning “religious liberty protections in federal law.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a separate statement the same day, which reads in part:
Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people. It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe. Every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith.