First Liberty Cites Mikey Weinstein after Creation of Religious Liberty Task Force
Monday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force that will attempt to proactively protect the religious liberty of American citizens. During the announcement, AG Sessions said [emphasis added]:
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. It must be confronted and defeated..
We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs…
The Task Force will help the Department fully implement our religious liberty guidance by ensuring that all Justice Department components are upholding that guidance in the cases they bring and defend, the arguments they make in court, the policies and regulations they adopt, and how we conduct our operations.
It’s an outstanding thing to hear our government say — to value religious liberty and desire to protect it, consistent with the foundational documents of our country. This is in stark contrast to the cultural norm of trying to stigmatize and attack religion and liberty — or at least permit such hostility, as some government officials have arguably done.
Important for perspective was the following comment, which many who seek to have the government restrict religion seem to forget [emphasis added]:
[The Founders] clearly recognized that an individual’s relationship to God is a natural right and precedes the existence of the state, and is not subject to state control.
The government did not create nor grant religious liberty. It cannot take it away.
In essence, the task force is intended to scope not just how the DoJ litigates, but also what it litigates — including proactively initiating cases to protect religious liberty.
Finally, it was interesting to see Jeremy Dys, First Liberty deputy general counsel, indicate he thought the DoJ’s move would ultimately influence the whole of government — including the US military:
The new task force, Dys said, would institutionalize the government’s commitment to religious liberty as well as provide a more focused path for combatting religious discrimination within federal agencies like the Department of Defense.
He specifically pointed to the controversy surrounding placing Bibles on a table respecting prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.
That would be the actions of the US Air Force in response to a “request” by one Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, which led to Col Stacy Huser happily removing a Bible and replacing it with a book of blank pages.
And there is little doubt Mikey Weinstein is party to those who would “erod[e] our great tradition of religious freedom” and who “must be confronted and defeated.”
Dys indicated the task force could go to other government agencies and help them understand the proper application of the law — when, for example, trying to decide whether to kowtow to bigoted calls to remove a Bible from public display.
That could be useful, it seems.