The Department of Justice refused to release Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech this week to anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, yet somehow it ended up on conservative site The Federalist shortly after Buzzfeed and Right Wing Watch announced they had filed Freedom Of Information Act requests demanding the transcript be released.
And, yes, there’s cause for concern.
In his speech, Sessions assured the group he would make defending “religious freedom” a top priority of his department. He also promised that his office would shortly issue new guidelines on the matter.
“Since he was elected, President Trump has been an unwavering defender of religious liberty. He has promised that under a Trump Administration, ‘the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.’ And he is fulfilling that promise. First, President Trump appointed an outstanding Supreme Court justice with a track record of applying the law as written, Neil Gorsuch. I have confidence that he will be faithful to the full meaning of the First Amendment and protect the rights of all Americans.”
“The president has also directed me to issue guidance on how to apply federal religious liberty protections. The department is finalizing this guidance, and I will soon issue it.”
Sessions also spoke of the upcoming guidance helping agencies follow the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Congress enacted RFRA so that, if the federal government imposes a burden on somebody’s religious practice, it had better have a compelling reason.”
“That is a demanding standard, and it’s the law of the land. We will follow it just as faithfully as we follow every other federal law. If we’re going to ensure that religious liberty is adequately protected and our country remains free, then we must ensure that RFRA is followed.”
“The Justice Department confirmed in an email to NBC News that the transcript was legitimate,” reports NBC News.