I would love some help from knowledgeable people analyzing this legal guidance by the Trump administration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued government-wide legal guidance Friday that urges sweeping protection for religious freedom and could impact a series of pending policy decisions involving health care, LGBT rights and even disaster relief.
Sessions billed the 25-page memo directed to all federal agencies as a response to an executive order President Donald Trump signed in May, promoting efforts to promote “religious liberty.”
That order triggered a major showdown within the administration as religious and social conservatives pressed for treatment that could essentially allow them to ignore anti-discrimination requirements, particularly in the area of sexual orientation, while more moderate forces warned that upending existing protections would trigger an uproar that could derail other administration priorities.
The new Justice Department guidance takes a muscular view of religious freedom rights, but officials said that the document is a neutral description of existing law and not an effort to weigh in on particular policy issues.
“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place,” Sessions wrote. “Except in the narrowest of circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law. Therefore, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting and programming.”
The legal analysis was unveiled as the Trump administration is considering or pursuing a series of moves that could broaden the rights of the religious, including allowing churches more latitude to enter political campaigns without jeopardizing their tax exemptions and permitting religious institutions to receive more types of disaster relief funds.
Also, please note that today (Friday), the Trump administration rolled back the birth control mandate for Obamacare.