`Whether you voted for President elect Drumpf or not, as a friend of Atheists of Florida we want you to know his nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has a record antagonistic to State Church Separation. According to Hemant Mehta on Patheos at the Republican National Convention, Sessions criticized Sonia Sotomayor for not being religious enough. He stated: “if you have secularization in the world and don’t believe in a higher being, maybe you don’t believe there is any truth.”
At the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference (2016) Session’s stated this, talking about Sotomayor: “…this is a postmodern, relativistic, secular mindset and I believe it’s directly contrary to the founding of our republic…” According to Right Wing Watch, he was responding to her quote of legal scholar Martha Minow’s observation that in the law ‘there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives – no neutrality, no escape from choice in judging,’ an acknowledgment of the hidden assumptions and biases that all judges bring to the law.”
Mr. Sessions also stated he regarded Justice Scalia as “one of the greatest justices ever to sit on the Supreme court.” This is troubling because Scalia, in a speech to Colorado Christian University said the following: “I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,”
Scalia also stated that the worries over religion in government “utterly absurd”. According to an article in Salon, however, he attributed the spread of atheism to Satan, who was “getting people not to believe in him or in god. He’s much more successful that way.”
Obergefell v. Hodges, the 5-4 decision in 2015 finding constitutional right to same-sex marriage:
“Where the family is not the center of American life, government is,” Sessions warned. “Today’s ruling is part of a continuing effort to secularize, by force and intimidation, a society that would not exist but for the faith which inspired people to sail across unknown waters and trek across unknown frontiers.”
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 5-4 decision in 2014 holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows closely held, for-profit corporations to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees based on religious objections:
“Hobby Lobby is a family business that objected to a federal government mandate requiring them to pay for drugs like Plan B and Ella, which they argued was a violation of their pro-life religious views,” Sessions said. “Today’s ruling is an important step towards restoring the religious freedoms that the President’s health care law suppressed. And it is yet another rebuke for an Administration that does not recognize the limits on its power.”
According to LifeSitenews.com Sessions “called the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage “beyond breathtaking” and warned, “We are at a period of secularization in America that I think is very dangerous, it erodes the very concept of truth, the very concept of right and wrong, and there are people out there who enjoy attacking people who follow biblical directives.”
We encourage everyone to consider this information and contact your Senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson about your concerns on freedom of religion under Sessions. You may also Donate to AOF in Sessions name and we will send him a thank you note with information on the importance of State Church separation (your name will not be mentioned but you will receive a copy of the letter sent.)
You can find out how Sessions voted on other issues at OnTheIssues.
What does the attorney general do?
Per The United States Depart of Justice
“The mission of the Office of the Attorney General is to supervise and direct the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals Service, which are all within the Department of Justice.”
The Office of Justice Programs has a “Center for Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships” which is supposed to ensure that Faith Based groups do not discriminate against other religions, or the non-religious, and that federal funds are not used for religious purposes. On their website, it gives the following response to the question “What are the rules for use of Federal funding by faith-based organizations?”
“Grant funds may not be used for inherently religious activities such as worship, prayer, proselytizing, or devotional Bible study. The funds are to be used to further the objectives established by Congress such as reducing crime, assisting victims of crime, keeping juveniles out of the life of crime, and mentoring youth and adults.
A faith-based organization should take steps to ensure that its inherently religious activities, such as religious worship or instruction are separate – in time or location – from the government-funded services that it offers. However, you may use space in your church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship to provide Federally-funded services. In addition, there is no need to remove religious symbols from these rooms. You may also keep your organization’s name even if it includes religious words, and you may include religious references in your organization’s mission statements. If you have any questions or doubts, you should check with the official who administers your Federal funds.”
You can view the Combating Religious Discrimination and Protecting Religious Freedom website of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. They even produce email updates to which you can subscribe.
To subscribe to Religious Freedom in Focus, please send an e-mail with your name and organization (if applicable) to firstname.lastname@example.org