Sessions also said it was inappropriate that judicial and executive branch nominees were being asked about their religious dogma. And he praised a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple in a case that reached the Supreme Court and ended in his favor this year. That baker, Jack Phillips, was part of a panel discussion at the Justice Department summit.
“Let’s be frank: A dangerous movement, undetected by many but real, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. It’s no little matter. It must be confronted intellectually and politically and defeated,” Sessions said. “This election, this past election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends and to confront them.
Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, however, but by intellectual victories,” he added.
Sessions, a Methodist and former Republican senator from Alabama, has made protecting religious liberty a cornerstone agenda item of his Justice Department — along with defending freedom of speech on college campuses.
In his speech, the attorney general noted that he had issued guidance last year advising executive branch employees on how to apply religious liberty protections in federal law.