Henry Rodgers on July 30, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Department of Justice (DOJ) has formed a religious liberty task force to protect the freedom of religion in the U.S., at a Monday event.

The announcement comes months after Sessions signed a religious liberty memo in October, which stated it would help support employers making hiring decisions based on religion. The task force will also help enforce religious freedom, as stated in the memo and will also reach out to religious organizations for their input on issues in the community.

“Today I am announcing our next step: the Religious Liberty Task Force,” Sessions said at the DOJ’s Religious Liberty Summit. “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 made it clear that religious freedom has been a key issue for President Donald Trump and his administration, saying he believes the task force will help enforce these policies.

“Freedom of religion has been a core American principle from the very beginning of our country — indeed, it is our ‘first freedom.’ President Trump promised that he would make preserving and protecting our religious liberty the first priority of his administration. The Department of Justice is committed to assisting with that effort,” Sessions continued.

The task force will be led by Sessions and will be co-chaired by the Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy Beth Williams.

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