Union Theological Seminary President Responds to Justice Department Memo on Religious Liberty

October 9, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Session’s recent memorandum lays the groundwork for outright discrimination against a specific group of people, and disturbingly, he uses the cover of religious liberty to justify it. There are many troubling aspects to his position, but as a Christian, I am specifically disturbed by the “religious” views he uses to buttress his position.  As a Christian minister and a life-long church-goer, I absolutely disagree with his construal.  According to the tenet of Christianity, we are called to be exemplary in our love not exempted from loving certain groups.
Oddly, Sessions is himself doing the very thing he intends to prevent. He is giving special rights to Christians who are anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice, while at the same time, denying the religious freedoms of Christians and people of other faiths who are neither.  This de-facto government endorsement of one particular slice of Christianity is a clear violation of the Constitution’s establishment clause. Our founders were careful to protect individual rights to worship without creating an official state religion. This Justice memo not only jeopardizes that tenuous balance, it threatens the lives of countless Americans.
No LGBTQ person should be denied a job because of an employer’s bigotry, nor should they lose their housing because a landlord feels it sinful to rent to them. No person should lose access to birth control because of their boss’ religious objection. The life and freedom of millions cannot be made subservient to one group of Christians who have a particular  interpretation of doctrine. 

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