Hate group given a prominent role in Trump's administration

Hate group given a prominent role in Trump's administration August 1, 2018

A listed American anti-LGBT hate group – Alliance Defending Freedom – has been linked to the Trump administration’s new religious freedom task force, which activists fear will be used to undermine equal rights protections.
Pink News reports that Trump’s deranged, bat-eared Attorney General Jeff Sessions, above, announced the formation of a “religious freedom task force” at a Religious Liberty Summit hosted by the Justice Department on Monday – and that the ADF would be given an influential role in the the running of the force.
Sessions alluded to the ADF in his speech, saying:

Let us be frank. 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.
This election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends. Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, but by intellectual victories.
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 labelling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

In a press release, the ADF said:

Religious liberty is our most precious gift as humans and our most cherished and protected freedom as Americans.
We highly commend President Trump and Attorney General Sessions for following through on the most vital promises of their public service: the preservation and protection of religious liberty.
Too many of the clients ADF represents are risking their businesses, their life savings, and their safety to follow their conscience. All Americans should be free to peacefully live and act consistent with their convictions and faith without threat of government punishment.
Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to political and cultural whims; they are constitutional guarantees, and we are grateful that this administration recognizes that reality and is taking serious steps to correct injustice and protect the freedom of religion.

In his speech, Sessions said the the task force was the product of:

Listening sessions… [with] religious groups across America.

He went on to affirmed his belief that individuals and business owners should be free to discriminate based on religious beliefs and that the task force:

Will help the department fully implement our religious liberty guidance.

Media Matters reports that it appears the the Justice Department collued with the ADF on the launch, with the ADF breaking the news of the task force’s creation in its press release.
Extremism watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center has labelled the ADF as a “hate group”, noting that  it has actively supported the criminalisation of homosexuality in Belize. ADF leaders have previously linked homosexuality and paedophilia.

The group primarily works to undermine LGBT anti-discrimination protections through a series of court battles, most notably representing bigoted baker Jack Phillips, above – and arguing that religious freedom gives him the right to discriminate against gay customers.
Under Sessions, the Justice Department has frequently weighed in on court battles on the side of the ADF, filing a brief to the Supreme Court supporting Phillips.
LGBT activists have expressed fears over the implications of the task force. Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said:

This taxpayer funded task force is yet another example of the Trump-Pence White House and Jeff Sessions sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions have engaged in a brazen campaign to erode and limit the rights of LGBTQ people in the name of religion.
The Attorney General standing shoulder-to-shoulder this morning with anti-LGBTQ extremists tells you everything you need to know about what today’s announcement was really all about.

Democratic National Committee LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta said:

From supporting the right to refuse service to same-sex couples to banning military service by transgender individuals to removing mentions of LGBTQ issues from the White House website, Attorney General Sessions’ creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force is just the latest assault in this administration’s continued campaign against LGBTQ people and our civil rights.
By creating this task force, Sessions is establishing a unit dedicated to undermining LGBTQ rights and giving anti-LGBTQ far-right extremists like task force head Jesse Panuccio a taxpayer-funded platform to push their anti-equality agenda.
Rather than ensuring every person has equal protections and opportunities, Sessions is shamefully doubling down on bigotry.
This action is further proof that Republicans continue to push forward an agenda completely out of step with the American people and our values. Democrats will continue to focus on how to improve opportunity for all Americans regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or income.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD said:

Though freedom of religion is a core American value, religious exemptions from adhering to non-discrimination protections are not.
Sessions’ announcement is yet another example of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ agenda as they seek to weave protections for those seeking anti-LGBTQ religious exemptions into the government.

Rachel Laser, President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said:

Today’s event by the Justice Department offends the true meaning of religious freedom.
The event was clearly designed to advance the Trump administration’s twisted and dangerous view of religious freedom, one that uses religion to discriminate and harm others.
This event exposed the administration’s real agenda: to preserve the power of Christian fundamentalists.

Michael Adams, CEO of Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE), said:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of a so-called Religious Liberty Task Force at the Department of Justice is one more effort by this Administration to obliterate anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
LGBT elders – who rely on religiously affiliated providers for non-discriminatory care — have played a huge role in the ‘changing cultural climate’ that the Attorney General condemns. They will not go back into the closet so that this Administration can pander to the forces of intolerance and bigotry.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Broga

    Hatred is what keeps Trump’s voters loyal. They are obsessed with keeping anyone different, in any way, under the heel of the Dictator where they are either helot slaves or expelled.
    The Spartans, far tougher then the obese thugs that follow Trump, remained worried that the helots would overwhelm them. With close to half the population of the USA speaking Spanish, Trump and his worshippers, if they had the brains, might scent danger.

  • L.Long

    The usual xtian BS about ‘we are not allowed to be bigoted aholes in public!!…religious persecution!!!!’

  • gedediah

    Religious freedom has to include freedom from religion, otherwise, it’s no freedom at all.

  • Jobrag

    Bigoted bakers, if a gay wedding is a sham and has no theological credence why is baking a cake for one anything but baking a cake for a dolls’ tea party?

  • barriejohn
  • barriejohn

    Encouraging homophobia in Africa and elsewhere is a Christian duty as well. I did often warn younger gay guys that hard-won freedoms were by no means assured (“out-of-touch, fuddy-duddy old doom-monger”), but things in America have changed much quicker than even I imagined, and are even worse than I had feared when Trump was elected. Worse still, I think the idiot may well be set for a second term, as millions of his supporters think he’s doing just great!

  • John the Drunkard

    There’s no shortage of ‘Sincere Religious Believers’ in the U.S. who are blatantly racist, antisemitic, and domestically abusive. These aren’t hidden sins a la Catholic Church. They are open public expressions of ‘faith.’
    How will Sessions and Co. normalize THEIR ‘religious freedom?’

  • Broga

    John the Drunkard @ barriejohn: Kimmy, the Chinese Top Cat and Vlad must be loving dealing with Trump and the Trumpwits as in fuckwits. Add in Boris the Berk, recently Foreign Secretary and Moggy as a potential PM and St Theresa in Downing Street and all thinking they are absolutely wonderful because they are English as in, “The most fortunate event in life is to be born an Englishman”. I forget who said it but it was along those lines.

  • Angela_K

    “Religious liberty” is a euphemism for the right to ignore laws you disagree with, the right to oppress certain groups and the right to discriminate; not the type of liberty familiar to a reasonable person.

  • Broga

    Angela_K: These semi literate bigots do not have the ability to achieve a wider and generous perspective. For example, from a man whom these pathetic stains on humanity would regard as inferior, Primo Levi. He writes in, “The Drowned and the Saved”, in his introduction “A would be tyrant is waiting in the wings” and the book is constantly impressing on us to learn from the past.
    “The negators of truth”they are our constant enemy, Levi insists. Already these deniers of truth were denying the Concentration camps.
    If you don’t read, don’t think and believe the “negators of truth” you get Trump.

  • andym
  • Vanity Unfair

    I have to protest at this reporting style.
    Trump’s deranged, bat-eared Attorney General…
    Such an ad hominem remark is, really, beneath you. Neither the shape or size of the man’s ears nor the acuity of his hearing has any bearing on the validity or constitutionality of the man’s actions. The disregard for the US Constitution and the misuse of government departments and funds would be as egregiously shocking even had he the ears of an Adonis.

  • 1859

    As disgusting as this ‘think’ (!) tank is, I sometimes wonder if – in a perverse way – it’s not a good thing, because it reminds us of just what’s out there, waiting to take power given a scintilla of a chance. My naive hope is that once these religious lobby groups do come out into the open and clearly show the depth and reach of their bigotry, they will alarm and alienate even more rationally-minded people. But this, of course, doesn’t excuse the damage, the heartache and intolerance which such bigots cause in the meantime. Which is why they must be fought all the way to the grave and beyond, with reasons so powerful and so overwhelming, that to deny them, would make the bigots look exactly what they are – bigoted.

  • Vanity Unfair

    To Broga:
    Is this it?
    … you are an Englishman, and have subsequently drawn the greatest prize in the lottery of life.
    If you were rich and, obviously, male it might even have been true.

  • barriejohn
  • Club Secretary

    @1859 – Thu 2 Aug 2018 at 12:48 am
    I am sure many Germans had the same thought about the National Socialists in the thirties.

  • barriejohn
  • Broga

    Vanity Unfair : That’s it. Predators who robbed the world and often idle as their status made the plebs work like slaves to keep them in luxury. Thanks.

  • barriejohn
  • barriejohn

    He’s ramping up his attacks on the press to ridiculous levels now:
    Someone’s going to be seriously injured, or worse, if this doesn’t stop.

  • Broga

    Hitler did the same with the Jews as the target. Trump has selected the media. His idiocy is not just making him ridiculous but, as President, the USA is increasingly being stained by his behaviour.

  • andym

    Broga . you’re nearer than you ever wanted to be.
    “His comment was echoed by the chief executive of CA’s parent company SCL Group, Nigel Oakes, who told Dr Briant that Trump “leveraged an artificial enemy” in the shape of the Muslims in the same way that Adolf Hitler played on pre-war German hatred for Jews.”
    CA is the infamous Cambridge Analytica.

  • andym
  • barriejohn

    And here’s the latest:
    He really does live in a little world of his own!

  • andym

    I see Ed Balls is doing a documentary series on Trump supporters. To me it misses the point. They’ve always been there ,and were becoming a declining and increasingly absurd side-show. My concern is with the people who let them back in. The people who still propose equivalence between Clinton and the Evangelist-backed Trump. The people who did nothing, or smiled oh so ironically and said Trump would be “interesting”, as if nothing USA had was worth protecting.
    It’s them who need to come to their senses.

  • barriejohn

    @andym: Well put. And I see no sign of any massive swing of the pendulum back towards the Democrats, either. I have a feeling that November is going to be another massive disappointment for them, though I hope otherwise.

  • barriejohn

    But here’s one person who’s sorry that he voted for the orange retard!