Religious Liberty Task Force
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Religious Liberty Task Force is a special organization within the United States Department of Justice implemented under the leadership of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to protect the religious rights of United States citizens. The announcement of the Religious Liberty Task Force became the subject of controversy and criticism as people described the unit as a piece of legislation that blurs the line between church and states, which could lead to discrimination of religious minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
On July 30th, 2018, Attorney General Sessions announced the formation of the Religious Liberty Task Force at a speech at the Department of Justice’s Religious Liberty Summit in Washington, D.C. The task force has been charged with helping "the department fully implement our religious guidance. He said:
The task force will help the department fully implement our religious liberty guidance by ensuring that all Justice Department components are upholding that guidance in the cases they bring and defend, the arguments they make in court, the policies and regulations they adopt and how we conduct our operations. That includes making sure that our employees know their duties to accommodate people of faith.
Sessions also warned of a "dangerous movement" that has been attacking the First Amendment and religious rights of U.S. citizens. He continued, "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."
Many online reacted negatively to the announcement, comparing the policy to other fundamentalist and violent religious movements of the past. Twitter  user @Soren_Ltd tweeted a picture from a group of Crusaders. They captioned the tweet, "I'm having the weirdest déjà vu about this Religious Liberty Task Force." The post (shown below, left) received more than 170 retweets and 775 likes in 24 hours. Twitter user @stapf tweeted a picture of protesters dressed as characters from the television series about the authoritarian rule of women The Handmaid's Tale with the caption "The first meeting of the Religious Liberty Task Force is now convening." The post (shown below, center) received more than 790 retweets and 2,200 likes in 24 hours.
Additionally, Twitter user @AmoneyResists posted an image criticizing the proposal as an example of a disregard for the separation of church and state. They captioned the photograph, "Jeff Sessions’ 'Religious Liberty Task Force': • Is another example of Trump’s 'solutions that don’t work to problems that don’t exist' • Shows a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state • Is the latest of this administration’s attempts to appease evangelicals." The post (shown below, right) received more than 150 retweets and 470 likes in 24 hours.
News of the Task Force was discussed on the /r/politics subreddit, where it received more than 6,900 points (97% upvoted) and 600 comments, and /r/The_Donald,  where it received more than 4,000 points (94% upvoted) and 350 comments, in 24 hours.
Virtually all major media outlets covered the announcement of and reaction to the Religious Liberty Task Force, including NBC, CBS, HuffPost, The Hill and more.
 Department of Justice – Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks at the Department of Justice’s Religious Liberty Summit
 CNN – Sessions announces new 'religious liberty task force'
 Twitter – @Soren_Ltd's Tweet
 Twitter – @stapf's Tweet
 Twitter – @AmoneyResists's Tweet
 Reddit – Jeff Sessions' 'religious liberty task force' part of a dangerous Christian nationalist campaign of discrimination
 Reddit – Trump and Jeff Sessions prioritize protection of religious freedom with new DOJ Religious Liberty Task Force
 NBC News – Jeff Sessions' 'religious liberty task force' part of a dangerous Christian nationalist campaign of discrimination
 CBS – Jeff Sessions: Religious liberty task force to be created, the attorney general announced today
 HuffPost – Twitter Rains Hell On Jeff Sessions' New Religious Liberty Task Force
 The Hill – Sessions announces 'religious liberty task force'
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Jul 31, 2018 at 02:43PM EDT
Jul 31, 2018 at 05:03PM EDT
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