Religious Liberty Task Force

May 2018
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Oh here we go:

In the Trump administration’s latest effort to deliver on promises to its base, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “religious liberty task force” at the Department of Justice. Sessions made the announcement at a Religious Liberty Summit, which was backed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). But a closer look at what Sessions and groups like the ADF mean when they talk about “religious liberty” makes clear how both religion and freedom are being redefined by this administration to serve an extreme agenda. It’s time for people who care about the future of democratic society to reclaim the concept of religious liberty.

But when groups like the ADF talk about religious liberty, they are really talking about liberty for one specific religion — Christianity. In this context, the phrase has become a rallying cry for Christian conservatives whose religious and political interests align around issues like reversing Roe v. Wade and rolling back LGBT protections. Indeed, in their study “Make America Christian Again,” sociologists Andrew Whitehead, Samuel Baker, and Joseph Perry conclude, independent of other influences, Christian nationalism was the single most determinative indicator of support for candidate Donald Trump in the 2016.

Founded in 1994 as the Alliance Defense Fund, the ADF is a legal advocacy and organizing coalition for Christian nationalists that has been aggressive in pushing for a decidedly unequal definition of religious liberty. The ADF believes not only that America was founded as a Christian nation, but also that religious conservatives like themselves must save America from moral decline. Sessions and the Trump administration’s ties to the ADF are well-known — in 2017, Sessions consulted the ADF while drafting new DOJ guidance on how to interpret federal religious liberty protections.

This idea that LGBT and other minorities were threatening the rights of the Christian majority gained traction during the decade when marriage equality was winding its way through the federal courts. Painting themselves as victims of an amoral scheme, Christian nationalists have argued that their religious freedom is slowly but surely being curtailed by gay wedding cakes and transgender bathroom bills.

Like Sessions, apparently, Trump has embraced this narrative wholesale. In his declaration celebrating Religious Freedom Day on January 16, 2018, he wrote that “No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenants of faith or adherence to the law.”

In reality, these arguments boil down to one thing: discrimination. It is not enough for Christian nationalists to freely exercise their vision of a good life. In the name of “liberty,” they want the right to discriminate against those with whom they disagree.

As a Christian minister myself, I’m both offended by this abuse of faith and troubled by the lack of moral outrage against it. Whatever our political commitments, the Bible calls Christians to love God by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is why Baptists in colonial America argued against the establishment of religious tests by governing authorities.
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/jeff-sessions-religious-liberty-task-force-part-dangerous-christian-nationalist-ncna895941

http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/399482-sessions-announces-religious-liberty-task-force
 
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May 2018
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When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross
We'll be just like Russia soon:

MOSCOW — It was just before dawn when close to a dozen police officers wearing helmets and body armor burst into the apartment where Yevgeny Lebedev lives with his wife and children in northern Moscow.

“They forced me to lie on the floor with my face down,” Lebedev recalled of the raid in mid-November. “They wouldn’t let me look up while they searched the apartment. My children were terrified. It took my five-year-old daughter a long time to get over it. She thought they were criminals who had come to rob us.”


Despite the heavy-handed police tactics, Lebedev, 38, was not a terrorist suspect. Nor was he accused of murder, armed robbery, state treason or any other serious crime.

The officers who raided Lebedev’s home were investigating a possible violation of a controversial Russian law that makes it a criminal offense to “insult the feelings of religious believers.” Approved by President Vladimir Putin in June 2013, the law stipulates up to a year in jail for “insulting” acts that occur outside a place of worship. Those that happen inside are punishable by up to three years behind bars.

The homes of several other people were raided that same morning, in an operation that involved more than 150 police officers. Like Lebedev, they had protested plans to build a Russian Orthodox Christian church in a neighborhood park. Lebedev and other locals said its construction, part of an ambitious project to build 200 new churches across the Russian capital, would rob them of a much-loved green space. Brawls and shouting matches frequently erupted between protesters and radical Orthodox activists.

Russia’s law to protect religious believers was inspired, analysts say, by the high-profile trial of Pussy Riot, when the state prosecutor had been forced to scour Russia’s criminal code for appropriate charges to levy against the all-woman band.


“Pussy Riot were charged with hooliganism and inciting hatred against Orthodox Christian believers,” said Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA Center in Moscow, which monitors relations between organized religion and secular society. “The latter charge was very hard to prove in court and it wasn’t so clear what hooliganism had to do with it at all. The law on insulting the feelings of religious believers was introduced in order to make it easier to prosecute people in similar cases.”
https://www.politico.eu/article/putins-holy-war/

It is indeed what the right in this country wants.
 
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"Religious Liberty Task Force". LOL, what a stupid Orwellian name for a stupid Orwellian idea. Is the "RLTF" going to go around making sure that nobody interferes in the fake christians ability to discriminate against people?
 
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May 2018
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"Religious Liberty Task Force". LOL, what a stupid Orwellian name for a stupid Orwellian idea. Is the "RLTF" going to go around making sure that nobody interferes in the fake christians ability to discriminate against people?
Basically, yes- that's exactly what they're going to do.