The Trump Justice Department, headed by pro-life AG Jeff Sessions, is inexplicably backtracking on promises of religious liberty. Obamacare, which many of us had hoped would be gone by now, attempted to force a birth-control mandate on Christian organizations that opposed it in principle.
Trump loudly proclaimed throughout his campaign that he would be a champion of religious liberty, that the federal government would not interfere in deeply held religious beliefs. But look what’s happening now.
A district court ruled in favor of the religious organizations, which led to the Obama Justice Department (yes, I know the oxymoronic quality of that title) appealing the decision. Everyone expected the new Justice Department, led by the conservative Sessions, would drop that appeal.
It hasn’t happened. In fact, . . . well, I’ll quote from a newspaper report:
Several religious groups are dismayed and confused by the Trump administration’s move, including the Little Sisters of the Poor — a group of nuns — that fought the mandate for several years but expected an immediate reprieve under the GOP president. They believed either the Justice Department would halt its appeal in the case or the administration would seek a rules change from the Department of Health and Human Services.
East Texas Baptist University and other plaintiffs represented by the nonprofit law firm Becket are now asking the Justice Department to drop its appeal of a district-court ruling in their favor, allowing them permanent relief from the mandate.
Conservatives who oppose the birth control mandate on religious liberty grounds are bewildered by the move at a Justice Department headed by former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who is well known for his conservative views.
As things stand now, it appears that Justice plans to continue defending the way the Obama administration applied the birth-control mandate, said Eric Rassbach, a Becket attorney.
Continue defending the Obamacare mandate on birth control? Why on earth would this administration act like the Obama administration on this issue?
I’m willing to wait and see. My hope—giving the benefit of the doubt here—is that there is some confusion in the department that will be straightened out. Perhaps the outrage over this report will awaken them to what they are doing.
Meanwhile, I continue to offer the same caution I’ve been offering all along: don’t expect principle from an administration that is headed by a man without principle. Sometimes, he will do what is right, but one can never depend on that.
Principles and Christian character remain the cornerstones for good government. Without them, it’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.