Opinion pages, blogs, websites and other media sources are full of reports Tuesday with reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' religious liberty task force. The overriding concern seems to be that it is a direct set-up for discriminating against the homosexual community.
"The media have tried to convince Americans that gay rights, which are not stated in the Constitution, overrule religious rights which are clearly stated in the Constitution. Journalists fear being proven wrong," Media Research Center's president, Dan Gainor, told CBN News.
"There's also an expectation from the Left that all levers of power — academia, media, courts, and government — are only supposed to be used to push a liberal agenda. The media reflect that and freak out anytime government might protect rights of people they disdain," Gainor also said.
The Huffington Post's headline, "Twitter Rains Hell on Jeff Sessions' New Religious Liberty Task Force," highlighted a multitude of negative comments and concerns about the task force from gay rights to the separation of church and state.
The first meeting of the Religious Liberty Task Force is now convening. pic.twitter.com/k7FKgmOBHv
— Scott Stapf (@stapf) July 30, 2018
"Religious Liberty Task Force"
Isn't that something the Taliban would do?
— Bob Cobb (@BobCobb06638683) July 30, 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/U9R28Umyjo
— Andrew Wortman (@AmoneyResists) July 30, 2018
Regarding the mention of separation of church and state, it's something MRC's Gainor says is really valued more by conservatives. "They are the ones who don't want government to intrude on their religious beliefs. You won't see that in the news because journalists try to depict anyone standing up to the Left as the villain," he said.
"Liberals have tried to create something that isn't in the Constitution — freedom from religion — and the media have helped. Every time government does something to protect religious belief, the media act like it's being done to harm others. No, it's being done so government doesn't force people to violate their religion — the first words of the First Amendment," Gainor also told CBN News.
The Daily Beast's (DB) headline read, "Jeff Sessions' 'Religious Liberty Task Force' Declares Holy War on LGBT People." Tim Teeman, an editor and writer for DB, wrote, "The Trump administration is already winning in its battle to erode the few civil rights that LGBT people have. The Supreme Court, if the Trump administration has its way, soon will be replete with justices to rubberstamp whatever kind of discrimination it chooses to pursue."
"If you are opposed to marriage equality or just dislike or disapprove of LGBT people generally, the Trump administration just gave you the green light to go ahead and refuse to serve them in your businesses, or help them with their medical care," Teeman wrote. "If an LGBT person wants or needs to use your service, no problem—tell them to shove off. The attorney general is right behind you."
Meanwhile, the one religious voice on NBC's "Think" section of its website was someone who actually opposes the religious freedom task force. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a Baptist minister, writes, "A closer look at what Sessions and groups like the ADF mean when they talk about 'religious liberty' makes clear how both religion and freedom are being redefined by this administration to serve an extreme agenda."
"It's time for people who care about the future of democratic society to reclaim the concept of religious liberty," Wilson-Hartgrove also said in the op-ed.
Wilson-Hartgrove claims the task force invites a form of discrimination, "It is not enough for Christian nationalists to freely exercise their vision of a good life. In the name of 'liberty,' they want the right to discriminate against those with whom they disagree."
Sessions sees it differently. In announcing the task force, he said the mission is one fundamental to the United States Constitution.
"Freedom of religion has been a core American principle from the very beginning of our country. Indeed, it is our first freedom," said Sessions. "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 said.