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Jeff Sessions vows to protect people of faith with new 'religious liberty task force'

The Department of Justice has launched a "religious liberty task force," Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday. CNN reports that the force will be tasked with implementing the "religious liberty guidance" that the Trump administration issued last year, which underlined the Constitution's protection of religious freedom.

Sessions told the audience at the DOJ's Religious Liberty Summit that the U.S. has become less welcoming to people of faith. Despite the presence of a vice president who regularly invokes his Christian faith during major speeches and a president who has voiced support for the baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple on religious grounds, Sessions argued that "a dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom."

"We've seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives," Sessions said, reports The Hill. "We've seen U.S. senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma — even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office." The new task force will ensure that the religious liberty guidance is followed in all DOJ cases and policies. The move comes as hate crimes against American Muslims have spiked, and several political candidates have been accused of anti-Semitism, but Sessions only explicitly mentioned the baker, Jack Phillips, among his examples of religious discrimination.

"Religious Americans are no longer an afterthought," Sessions proclaimed. Read more at CNN.