Trump administration uses 'religious liberty' to attack civil rights; ACLU will sue

The statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with a long legal analysis by the department's lawyers, is meant to be guidance to the rest of the federal government on how to decide conflicts involving declarations of religious belief _ for example, the recent case involving a baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple's wedding.

President Trump signed Executive Order 13798 on May 4 to declare the policy of the United States government regarding religious liberty under the U.S. Constitution and federal law, the first such order in American history.

The guidance says the government can not unduly burden people or certain businesses from practicing their faith, noting, "The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one's religious beliefs".

RFRA does not permit the federal government to second-guess the reasonableness of a sincerely held religious belief.

Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, women and others. "It is countenancing exercises of faith in a way that will harm other individuals".

Washington Prepares to Lift Economic Sanctions against Sudan
The United States confirmed this Friday (6) that it will lift its economic sanctions against Sudan . The sanctions were later reinforced due to the civil conflict in the Darfur area.

However, the legal memo suggests that the government's legal authority to forbid racial discrimination may not be as strong as its authority to target other forms of discrimination, such as bias against women or LGBT individuals.

All eyes were on the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, as the Trump administration announced a major broadening of exemptions to the federal contraception mandate, prompting cheers from religious freedom proponents nationwide.

"Religious freedom is a fundamental right, but the attorney general's directive is nothing but a license for businesses to discriminate".

The policy would also allow religious freedom to be used as a basis for discrimination against women and other minorities. "The plain truth is that Attorney General Sessions is running the Justice Department with a clear anti-transgender bias - not current law".

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group whose stated mission is to "keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family", hailed Sessions' announcement, while a number of leading LGBT advocacy groups condemned the move for effectively offering a religious exemption for sexual orientation discrimination.

Nadal sets up Isner showdown
Petra Kvitova, the two-time Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic, faces Caroline Garcia of France in the other semi-final. Nick Kyrgios also advanced. "I think it was just a hair or something, a hair from the tennis ball".

He additionally explained that the government can not compel a person or organization to act contrary to their religion, stating that "a government action that bans an aspect of an adherent's religious observance or practice, compels an act inconsistent with that observance or practice, will qualify as a substantial burden on the exercise of religion".

Critics are concerned that could create legal grounds for discrimination: religious employers could potentially fire people for being gay or trans, or otherwise refuse to serve them. "Federal agencies, government contractors, and grant recipients should not be permitted to discriminate simply by citing a religious belief for doing so". A nonprofit group with a federal contract could refuse to provide services to LGBT people, even in emergencies, and would not be in danger of losing its contract. The principle was also at play earlier this year, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Lutheran church that was seeking to make safety improvements on its playground through a state reimbursement program.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits covered employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their religion. Sessions told the nation's federal prosecutors in a Thursday memo that they would be evaluated regularly based on their commitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods, which also emphasizes partnerships among local law enforcement and community groups. "The White House says the guidance "does not authorize anyone to discriminate" - and Lambda Legal will make sure it doesn't".

Additionally, in 2015 while Mike Pence was governor, in passed its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, despite outcry from opponents who argued the bill could be used to legally discriminate against LGBTI people.

Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate.

Australia captain Smith leaves India tour
If losing the ODI series wasn't enough for the Australian team, their captain Steve Smith has been ruled out for the T20 series . Indian pace all-rounder was also among the wickets as he sent back the out of form Travis Head for just nine runs.

Latest News