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The government's new religious freedom guidance: What does it mean?

The government's new religious freedom guidance: What does it mean?

The attorney general and Department of Justice do not get to decide what "is a conclusion of law".

"Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place", Sessions wrote. Previous RFRA laws referred only to protections citizens enjoy when the government was directly burdening their religious practice, but Indiana's law was created to offer "religious freedom" as a justification in cases between two citizens, thus protecting those who would discriminate because of their religious beliefs.

Religious liberty expert Robin Fretwell Wilson says the memo could force agencies to re-think their protections on sexual orientation and gender identity.

How will this policy affect women and the LGBTQ+ community?

The guidance, an attempt to deliver on President Donald Trump's pledge to his evangelical and other religious supporters, effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held. It also says the government can not enforce the so-called Johnson Amendment, which threatens to strip tax-exempt status from religious groups that engaged in political advocacy.

Sessions then provided 20 principles pertaining to religious liberty, as well as pertinent case law on the matter. Under this initiative, OCDETF provides "seed money" to locally-focused gang investigations, giving state, local, and tribal investigators and prosecutors the resources and tools needed to identify connections between lower-level gangs and national-level drug trafficking organizations.

Among 20 principles outlined in the memo, the Justice Department finds that RFRA protections extend not just to individuals but also to organizations, associations and at least some for-profit companies and that the government is not permitted to "second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief".

The guidance says the government can not unduly burden people or certain businesses from practicing their faith, noting, "The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one's religious beliefs".

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Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: "Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate".

Furthermore, the memo clarifies, religious employers are entitled to limit employment to people whose beliefs and conduct adhere to their religious precepts. That assurance is left out in important passages asserting the primacy of religious freedom that could be construed to allow anti-LGBT discrimination.

The DoJ guidelines stop that nonsense and do what should have been done at the outset of Obamacare; allow a religious exemption for the contraception mandate.

The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or not to act in accordance with one's religious beliefs. "It is countenancing exercises of faith in a way that will harm other individuals".

A Justice Department official said Thursday the department hasn't decided if those grants will also be tied to immigration policies.

When news dropped that the May executive order was coming, it was initially thought that it would be the same order that leaked in February. It comes one day after Sessions instructed the Justice Department to no longer interpret the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to apply to cases of transgender discrimination.

Of course, firing, harassing or not hiring a person because they are transgender clearly constitutes sexual discrimination in the workplace.

It adds that the government will take this position in pending and future matters, which could have far-reaching implications across the federal government and may result in the Justice Department fighting against transgender workers in court.

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