In response to remarks by Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, about “secular” lawyers at his confirmation hearing today, Interfaith Alliance President Jack Moline issued the following statement:
“I am deeply troubled by Sen. Sessions’ remark that a secular lawyer may not understand truth as well as a religious one. It suggests that, if confirmed, he may well apply a religious test in hiring and firing lawyers at the Justice Department.
“Sessions has previously expressed hostility to core tenets of religious freedom under the Constitution. He has dismissed church-state separation as ‘unhistorical and unconstitutional’ and repeatedly backed Trump’s proposed ‘Muslim ban.’ Today’s remarks suggest that he would bring that hostility to religious freedom with him to the Justice Department if confirmed.
“Sessions was specifically asked during today’s hearing by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse whether ‘secular’ lawyers working at the Justice Department have anything to fear from an Attorney General Sessions. His response did nothing to assuage fears – in fact, quite the opposite.
“Our Constitution bans religious tests for public office. Sessions’ remarks today raise serious doubts about whether he would uphold the Constitution in this regard as Attorney General. We urge Senators to pursue this question vigorously before giving final consideration to his nomination.”
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.