Saturday, March 14, 2020

DOJ Gives Its Lawyers A Training Week On Religious Liberty

The New York Times reports today:
The Justice Department this week hosted training for its lawyers on religious liberty laws as part of Attorney General William P. Barr’s push to prioritize religious freedom cases, but the workshops prompted concern among some career lawyers that they were being educated on ways to blunt civil rights protections for gay and transgender people....
The training week was part of an ongoing campaign at the department to bolster ​its work to​ protect religious freedom, which is regularly described by top leaders as the first right protected by the First Amendment​, a department official said in response to a request for comment. ...
 A department spokesman said that the trainings were in no way meant to marginalize gay, lesbian and transgender people or to promote discrimination in any way, and that nothing in the materials presented did so.
Vanita Gupta, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, accused Mr. Barr of using the Justice Department to promote his religious beliefs.
“In speeches and statements, he says that civil society is being undermined by a move away from religiosity,” she said. “He wants to use civil rights statutes and the D.O.J. to redeem what he views as the corrupted soul of America.”