Religious Freedom May Be a Priority for Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to focus on religious freedom during his term.

It is a fact that conservative Christians propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. This was conceded by the speech he made during National Prayer Breakfast. The religious right now expect the Justice Department to toe the line of what they view as religious freedom. Jeff Sessions, the new Attorney General is expected to reposition himself to do just that.

Religious Freedom May Be a Priority for Jeff Sessions[/tweetthis]

Jeff Sessions, other than being a Republican senator elected from Alabama, is also a devout Methodist. He has consistently argued the state and the church are one and their separation is unconstitutional. He also said the bar imposed by the First Amendment on establishing religion has been interpreted in a hardline manner. The Senator also publicly said here has been a decline of religious free exercise.

For conservative Christians, these turn of events, if they happen, will be a welcome change. They allege their concerns became marginalized under former President Obama. They say their views were put in the backseat and the then Obama administration favored LGBT and First Amendment issues. The conservatives have good reasons to feel hopeful. The question now remains as to how Sessions will approach this issue.

For liberals, their worst fears have come true. Sessions at his confirmation hearing was asked whether a person who identifies himself as secular have the same claim to comprehend truth as a religious person, and he replied with a non-committal answer. There is clear evidence that the Justice Department under Sessions could proactively insert itself into religion-centric cases. This stance was highlighted by Hiram Sasser of First Liberty Institute. He said religious conservatives consider themselves to be a forgotten people. The latter is now happy to regain a seat at the table and have its own voice back.

It is expected Sessions will make considerable changes during his tenure at the Department of Justice. These changes are nothing new. The civil rights division of the department are traditionally subjected to radical changes in agendas with every presidential change. The Obama administration tried to reform problematic police departments. Sessions in all probability would use resources a little differently. This was evident during the first day itself when the Justice Department changed its legal position pertaining to a case that involved transgender rights. The department ceased to request asking the judge to restrict an injunction which limited federal government from instructing schools where students could be able to use locker rooms and bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter