Sessions Releases Transcript Of Address To Hate Group, Promised Coming “Guidance” On Religious Liberty

Not long after Right Wing Watch announced that they had filed a Freedom Of Information Act demand for the transcript of Jeff Sessions’ speech to the extremist anti-LGBT group Alliance Defending Freedom, his full address appeared on the conservative site The Federalist.

An excerpt:

Since he was elected, President Trump has been an unwavering defender of religious liberty. He has promised that under a Trump Administration, “the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.” And he is fulfilling that promise.

First, President Trump appointed an outstanding Supreme Court justice with a track record of applying the law as written, Neil Gorsuch. I have confidence that he will be faithful to the full meaning of the First Amendment and protect the rights of all Americans.

The president has also directed me to issue guidance on how to apply federal religious liberty protections. The department is finalizing this guidance, and I will soon issue it.

The guidance will also help agencies follow the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Congress enacted RFRA so that, if the federal government imposes a burden on somebody’s religious practice, it had better have a compelling reason.

That is a demanding standard, and it’s the law of the land. We will follow it just as faithfully as we follow every other federal law. If we’re going to ensure that religious liberty is adequately protected and our country remains free, then we must ensure that RFRA is followed.

Under this administration, religious Americans will be treated neither as an afterthought nor as a problem to be managed. The federal government will actively find ways to accommodate people of all faiths.

The protections enshrined in the Constitution and our laws protect all Americans, including when we work together, speak in the public square, and when we interact with our government. We don’t waive our constitutional rights when we participate fully in public life and civic society.

This administration, and the upcoming guidance, will be animated by that same American view that has led us for 241 years: that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square. It has served this country well, and it has made us not only one of the tolerant countries in the world, it has also helped make us the freeist and most generous. Thank you.

  • kcken

    Better donate to the ACLU and HRC today. *sigh*

    • S1AMER

      And be ready to do your damnedest next year to get out the vote.

      • FAEN

        I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again-we, as progressives, need to vote in EVERY election from School Board to POTUS. We do that and we win.

        • Ninja0980

          Too bad so many of us can’t do that unless there is that perfect candidate, which never happens.

        • Joe in PA

          And in our case (in PA), every judgeship. 🙁

      • boatboy_srq

        Next year? There are some significant state-level contests THIS year. Vote whenever, wherever.

    • MichaelJ

      PLEASE — skip HRC. If you are going to give money to candidates, give directly to the campaign and not through DC-based groups like HRC or DCC.

    • Marcus J. Hopkins

      The ACLU, yes; the HRC is a feckless money pit, sadly.

    • Rambie

      ACLU and Lambda Legal but no to the HRC

  • Jmdintpa

    One day we will look back and wonder why didnt we just line them all up against a wall and ……….well in the spirit of not wishing death on someone on Joe’s blog ill shut up.

    • Reality.Bites

      Because the United States has a definition of freedom and liberty and free speech that is completely out of whack with the rest of the world. And the ability to preach and speak hate and genocide without any repercussions has led to the ability of these people to steal your country from the decent people who would never allow that lineup

      You did NOT get the whole freedom of speech thing right when the other Western democracies got it wrong. You got it woefully incredibly horrifically wrong

  • Ninja0980

    In other words, let’s see how we can lock LGBT people up, just like you guys want to.

    • April

      Trump has already embolden his thuggish followers to bash people they don’t like. I can see the same happening when fundamentalists are officially given the green light to come after us LGBT folks.

      It’s going to be scary times for us.

  • Jefe5084

    Only for christians, however. All others: Fuck y’all

    • CraigNJ

      The Founding Fathers created a christian nation (they didn’t) therefore the 1st Amendment only be applies to christians.

    • JCF

      -ists.

  • Tawreos

    Wow, he thinks that christians have made us a tolerant country. Christians fight every change for people that don’t look and worship just like them and they think that makes them tolerant. Christ on a pony are these people fucking delusional.

  • S1AMER

    In other words, it will soon be open season on us. And on anybody else the religious right doesn’t like.

    So, yeah, be prepared to work with and contribute to groups that work for freedom from religion.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Bring it on.

  • ArchiLaw

    Well if they’re going to “follow it just as faithfully as we follow every other federal law,” we’re all safe. /s/

    • Gustav2

      You can trust an originalist to be an asshole and a self-serving one.

  • zhera

    Religious Freedom Restauration Act: Because the 1st Amendment wasn’t clear enough?

    Fuck these fuckers!

    • boatboy_srq

      1st Amendment established prohibitions on oppression due to faith (or lack thereof). It did nothing to preserve the privileges of the faithful(/deluded?). That was and always shall be their beef.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    OT, but if you read it be prepared for epic levels of Herp Derp!

    https://twitter.com/BikerBecca/status/885857549529956352

    • barrixines

      The thing is I knew I’d hate myself for clicking on the link but I did it anyway. I haven’t got past the ” it’s Bastille Day — 100 years since World War I. And I said, that’s big deal, 100 years since World War 1″ comment yet and my stomach’s already in a knot.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Read the rest. He gets much dumber. After reading his words it should be blatantly obvious that the man is insane.

        • boatboy_srq

          I still can’t tell how much of Lord Dampnut’s unintelligence is dementia, how much is the ego-driven conviction that he knows everything worth knowing already, and how much is the product of a private school education bought and not earned.

          • JCF

            Yes.

      • Versailles

        I think we’re reading too much into the WWI comment. His brain functions in shorthand. Bastille Day parades have themes every year and this year it was WWI. The parade celebrates modern France, not the storming of the Bastille. He was very wrong with his “in great shape” comment to Mme Macron though.
        Am I the only one who sees the excellent trolling he got during the parade though? A French brass band playing a French group’s song, Daft Punk. Daft punk? It literally translates as sale petit con.

        • barrixines

          Yes I think if we take time and unravel it we can make some sort of sense of most of his utterings. But I wouldn’t say it’s shorthand -more fleeting seconds of lucidity. However, the Mme Macron comment was a true jaw-dropper.

        • ChrisMorley

          The French band celebrated is called Daft Punk. The military band did a medley of their songs while performing complex parade ground moves.

          https://youtu.be/vhQkku7jLfo
          Donald Trump is not au fait with Daft Punk’s international chart success.
          This was their global smash: One More Time [HQ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6RTF4OPzf8

          ‘Despite seemingly dishing out praise to President Emanuel Macron at the start of the routine, Trump becomes increasingly bored, bewildered, and looks like a man who would rather be anywhere else by the time that they start playing Harder, Better, Faster.

          This is Macron’s sophisticated level of tRump Trolling.
          Commenting on the video, one user wrote: ” I love how France under Macron is now just trolling Trump en masse. @POTUS DON’T EVEN KNOW DAFT PUNK.”

          Another said: “Do you think this visit was actually just so Macron could troll Trump and subliminally call him a “Daft Punk”?
          http://www.nme.com/news/music/donald-trump-forced-to-sit-through-daft-punk-medley-2110750

      • Acronym Jim

        “As he told me, the meeting went — and it was attended by a couple of other people who — one of them left after a few minutes — which is Jared. The other one was playing with his iPhone. Don listened, out of politeness, and realized it wasn’t . . . .”

        Did Donald just accidentally admit he was at Junior’s dirt digging meeting?

        • prixator

          Or there’s hidden surveillance in the office.

      • JP

        It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever read and the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

    • bsinps

      Let him believe it. 😁

    • kaydenpat

      He’s not an idiot for nothing. Makes you wonder about his educational background. Despite his privileged background, he lacks basic knowledge of history. Hence his shout out to Frederick Douglas during Black History Month.

      • Karl Dubhe

        Dementia, and/or neurosyphilis.

        I think he had a decent education, but never used it.

        • Todd20036

          He may have learned stuff by memory, but never comprehended it, so that he could regurgitate enough facts to pass, but once he’s out of a classroom setting, he’s a deer in the headlights.

          • Karl Dubhe

            He might have. I’d suspect he was just a lazy student who didn’t learn anything he didn’t need to pass his exams. (that includes knowing how to bribe the teacher to get those marks.)

            It’s a pity, because his education would have stressed what happens to leaders who think they’re gods…

        • JCF

          The Wharton School: did daddy (Fred) buy his degree?

    • unclemike

      I just read that. Whole. Thing. His train of thought doesn’t just get derailed, it gets rerouted, broken apart, put back together in the wrong order, and ends up pulling into three different stations in three different cities at the same time. Christ, what a mess.

      • Acronym Jim

        So his train of thought only operates at the quantum level. Sounds about right.

    • Karl Dubhe

      What the actual fuck? He makes Rob Ford sound coherent, but at least Mayor Rob had Crack and brain cancer to, uhhh, explain the statements Rob made.

      • prixator

        Not brain cancer, fat cancer. Really.

    • Ken M

      Maybe he thought that RFRA was supported by Hillary Clinton, instead of Bill, and wanted to be sure his name was on it too. He does seem gifted for screwing up history..and names

    • ColdCountry

      That was a tough read. Not only for content, but for grammar, sentence structure, lucidity, etc. Some of my “favorite” highlights:

      “But the biggest strength we have are these horrendous trade deals.”

      “So now we no longer have the advantage. We have a tremendous advantage.”

      ” I have to be exactly accurate.”

      Yes, folks, this is our President. Ain’t y’all proud?

  • Ninja0980

    To touch on what I said below, when is someone going to ask them why they defend laws that specifically call for LGBT citizens here and abroad to be jailed?

    • kaydenpat

      They’ll probably just deny that they do. Lying comes easily to Christianists.

  • Joe in PA

    The federal government will actively find ways to accommodate people of all faiths…..

    Go ooooon. FSM would like to know.

    • kcken

      Nothing much for us atheists in there..

      • Joe in PA

        You have to start a “religion” called Atheism, just look at how many followers you would have. Yeah, that’s the ticket. 🙂

        • boatboy_srq

          Remember that to the wingnuts organized religion is merely the oldest and most successful and honorable grift, and the actual believers are merely foolish rubes to be relieved of their unnecessary net worth. Atheism challenges that principle and must be crushed for that reason alone.

      • whollyfool

        Check out the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It’s for all of us. Ramen!

    • Shy Guy
  • JaniceInToronto

    “it has made us not only one of the tolerant countries in the world, ”

    What planet does this clown live on?

    • Reality.Bites

      Russia

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    • boatboy_srq

      Tolerance only applies to Xtianists. Gun-toting Capitalist Jeebus won’t stand for tolerating any false religions.

      /semisnark

    • MrRobotoLA

      And the “freeist.” Apparently, Sessions or his transcriber can’t spell.

    • Todd20036

      And this is how the AG sneaks in fascism into the constitution.
      Because discriminating against LBGTs is religious freedom.
      Hey Bernie Bros, happy?

      • Marcus J. Hopkins

        That’s right. Blame the “Bernie Bros.” Don’t blame a candidate who little to no outreach in the states she needed to win. But, hey – “nothing’s wrong, here.”

      • customartist

        You know, there is this new-fangled invention, called the Mirror

    • Lizard

      “Tolerance” of their “right” to be hateful assholes to racial and religious minorities.

      (I dream of one day having an administration for whom I don’t have to employ quite so many ironic quotation marks.)

  • Gigi

    Why do Talibangelists get “special rights” for their chosen lifestyle? People aren’t born believing that a loving god supports abortion (Hosea 9:11-16) and infanticide (1 Samuel 15:3, Psalms 135:8, 136:10, Psalms 137:9), they choose to believe this. Why should their choice to be braindead fundies get special protection under the law?

    • kaydenpat

      Especially when those “rights” encompass not getting medical treatment for their offspring because they believe that praying is enough. It’s enraging that children die from treatable illnesses because of fanatically religious parents in this country.

  • Rex

    I’m sick and tired of the Religious Freedomers shoving their militant beliefs down my throat.

  • FAEN

    Hey KKKeebler Elf-your religion doesn’t get to trump our equality under the law. The equality we have that is.

  • Rex

    One of the most tolerant countries in the world – as long as you agree with what they want to tolerate.

    • Ninja0980

      Just like the folks who do Sharia law in the Middle East.

      • marshlc

        I suspect if any Muslim Americans attempt to “believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square” we’ll be hearing yells about Sharia Law right quickly.

  • Tawreos

    He will always be an icky elf.

  • Gustav2

    Fuck the prepared transcript, I want to hear a recording.

    “exercise their faith in the public square.” means they want to go after public accommodations laws.

    • kaydenpat

      And discriminate in the name of their religious beliefs.

    • Natty Enquirer

      The e-word stood out to me, too.

  • Michael

    Somehow I smell a huge rat in all of this. IF this was really the speech, or all of it, doors would have been flung wide open.

  • j.martindale

    Religious cults have incredible liberty. They want license.

    • Randy503

      and incense.

  • Ross

    I am a little confused.

    America has always had religious liberty.

    So, I ask the following of religious people:

    Why is YOUR liberty (which you have always had) seemingly dependent of your taking away MY liberties and/or denying ME the same liberties which you enjoy?

    You see, I am not the least interested in taking anything away from you. But you are Hell-bent on taking liberties away from me. You mother-fuckers.

    • Todd20036

      Because the fascists see religious liberty as a zero sum game.
      They get more liberty if we get less.
      They are more free if we can be discriminated against.
      And now we have an AG who agrees with the above sentences.

      • The Milkman

        Exactly this.

    • JCF

      “So, I ask the following of religious people:”

      You mean actively bigoted people (of whatever belief-system motivates their active bigotry).

  • kaydenpat

    Because religious folks are under siege in a country where they dominate the judiciary, politics and law enforcement. Alrighty then.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Islam will be ever so pleased to hear this.

  • Natty Enquirer

    Sessions is an interesting spellist.

    • Xuuths

      Could be the person they hired to transcribe his remarks….

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    Speaking of Neil Gorsuch: Thou Shalt Not Steal (and that includes Supreme Court seats).

    • JCF

      THIS! IMO, Gorsuch is as tainted as sexual-harrasser Uncle Clarence.

  • Pat

    No one needs that little evil gnome’s “religious guidance”. He can shove it. The only guidance we need is from the constitution which separates our state from his church.

  • Smokey

    “We don’t waive our constitutional rights when we participate fully in public life and civic society.” Hence, civil marriage equality no matter what any religion believes.
    Never mind, I’m just tired of all this nonsense.

  • marshlc

    For “religion”, read “Christian”. All other religions, and the philosophical stance of freedom from religion, need not apply.

  • Ken M

    Despite how tempting it will be for the media to run with this, I hope they cover it quickly and let it go to the back burner until more of this “guidance” comes forth. With all that’s happening on Capitol Hill, they need to turn their focus on fewer stories. The “deflection” to more stories only will invite more “fake news” attacks which, true or not, only adds to more deflection. Not everything is newsworthy by every channel and website. It can reach a point where even those of us that originally found the story (Jr’s meeting for e.g.) interesting are looking for news daily are saying..”again?” The guidance will, i’m sure, be interesting..when it becomes more than a speculation. So glad it’s Friday : )

  • labman57

    Sessions claims that religion is under attack in the United States. Perhaps so, but not in the way he meant.

    Islam and Judaism is assaulted by Christian conservatives, neo-Nazis, Klanners, and other right wing extremist groups every day. But Sessions is too busy defending social conservatives’ right to persecute the LGBT community to worry about such insignificant matters.

  • Ken M

    Since, like religion, homosexuality is a choice, according to the right anyway; can homosexuality be considered 1st amendment covered as well? Just a thought : )

  • Karl Dubhe

    The thing I found most worrying about his speech was an indication that the rights of people who don’t believe in fairy tales will not be respected.

    Then again, idiots like Sessions believe that atheists are also a religious group…

  • Professor Barnhardt

    I haven’t seen anything here:

    https://twitter.com/TheJusticeDept

  • The Professor

    I cannot express how much I deplore his whole Fucking POS crowd.

  • Nic Peterson

    Freeist? The AG of this country described us as ‘the freeist…’

    What a fucking dumbass.

    • Todd20036

      Uneducated.

    • OldBaldGuy

      Maybe he meant “free-ish?”

  • abqdan

    Thank god. It’s about time we took back this country. First up: I have a daughter I need to sell to the highest bidder. I also need to enslave my enemies. I’m planning to beat my wife, and to kill my son, who was disrespectful to me. Because … religion. And Brother Sessions says that’s all OK by him.

  • BearEyes

    which brand of xtianity will be chosen as the “standard” by which to weaponise that “religion” to discriminate against other people’s civil rights?

    • m_lp_ql_m

      Silly! Obviously, the one, true sect.

      • JCF

        i.e., the one most Truly Bigoted.

  • Tiger Quinn

    Have NONE of them EVER thought that this will lead to civil war among the various xtian sects? They can smirk now, but if this becomes the way of the country, some day the Lutherans will have an issue with the Baptists, and as an Ireland native I can tell you how that goes.

    • Xuuths

      Tell us, tell us.

  • Tiger Quinn

    File under: “Distraction From Russia #98744”

  • TexasBoy

    “the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs. [As long as they are of the “right” Christian religion, of course.]” And he is fulfilling that promise.

    Fixed it.

  • Galvestonian

    … possibly getting out the vote might not do anything because now that the Rethugs have learned to sell the country out to get in office – it’ll just be more lying , stealing ,. cheating & general whoring to stay in office and eventually Russian will be taught in every school. there will be no free press, anyone not in agreement with the official Rethug Party line will be sent to a permanent vacation to the tundra in North Western Alaska for work in an ice chipping facility to learn that, after all, “Work Makes you Free”.

  • M Jackson

    I will demand that the federal govt. uphold the Constitution and protect me from christians in the public sphere.
    My blah-blah is better than your blah-blah.

  • KnownDonorDad

    “Congress enacted RFRA so that, if the federal government imposes a burden on somebody’s religious practice, it had better have a compelling reason.”

    Follow the law and sell them the damned cake.

  • JWC

    Translated ..Once again we will do our best to obstuct, confuse and hobble the LGBT by use religious and any means we can We may not be able to stop LGBT but we don’t have to accept it

  • Professor Barnhardt

    “This administration, and the upcoming guidance, will be animated by that same American view that has led us for 241 years: that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square.”

    What about people who don’t want to worship?

  • -M-

    Thing is Jefferson, everyone else has the same right as you to exercise their beliefs in the public square. And people’s right to religious freedom is exactly why public servants like yourself aren’t allowed to let their beliefs interfere with doing their jobs.

  • ColdCountry

    “This administration, and the upcoming guidance, will be animated by that
    same American view that has led us for 241 years: that every American
    has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public
    square.”

    And will this apply equally to ALL (and no) religious beliefs?

  • JDS

    This little Ferengi Troll just needs to go away,

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      And by go away, you mean like a transporter accident or a photon torpedo up his sorry ass.

      • JDS

        Yes 🙂

  • JCF

    He has promised that under a Trump Administration, “the federal
    government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected
    religious beliefs.”

    What he means by “beliefs”:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/05f15a6a34773578faf61c77617094db33d6357b164d1c016ebf10cc78578b8b.jpg

  • Randy503

    “that every American has a right to …. exercise their faith in the public square. ”

    Thats what scares me the most — that they will believe they can force their beliefs on to everyone else. That means they can refuse service to any one that crosses their beliefs.

  • The christians have kept on so I have grown to hate the lot of them. Why? Because the real christians are quickly becoming greedy, my-way-or-the-highway piss-ants by tossing aside what their Jesus taught. Christians are starting to demonstrate sloth, arrogance, gluttony of life, lack of concern for the poor and needy. Not to mention the sexual immorality and perversion taking place within some churches. They are bringing their own “Sodom and Gomorrah” to life with their own actions. How I know this, is that the vast majority of christians voted for, and STILL support, this “anti-christ”; this “wolf in wolf’s clothing. Trump is simply the most blasphemous piece of two-legged shit to smear the presidency and the country with his truly unique excrement! God help us, for the christians are destroying the earth by worshipping this devil in the White House, instead of you!

  • DN

    Sessions lost me when he suggested that America treats religious people as a problem to be managed. When America starts treating atheists with a shred of respect, then we can address religious people feeling maligned.