U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Denver last week talking about religious liberty. Wednesday he made a move applauded by two top religious leaders in Colorado.
Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Tim Clinton issued a statement Wednesday evening praising Sessions for the Place to Worship Initiative to protect religious buildings from potentially discriminatory zoning laws. The Justice Department’s civil rights division would sue municipalities on behalf of churches or religious organizations.
“In recent years, the cultural climate has become less hospitable to people of faith and to religious belief,” Sessions said in a speech Wednesday. “Many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack.”
Sessions spoke at the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., about a case filed against Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, over whether zoning approval was improperly denied to an Orthodox Jewish congregation for a synagogue.
He repeated a line he used in Denver last week at the Western Conservative Summit, sponsored by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University: “Religious Americans have heard themselves called deplorables. They’ve heard themselves called bitter clingers.”
Dobson and Clinton commended Sessions and the Trump administration “for once again demonstrating they prioritize religious freedom in America.”
They spoke on behalf of the Colorado Springs-based James Dobson Family Institute, which continues the work of the Christian leader, author and radio personality and produces his daily radio program, “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk.”
“As Americans, our first freedoms include speech, association and free exercise of religion,” the statement continued. “This means our government specifically acknowledges its mandate to protect our right to talk about God publicly and gather together in houses of worship. Churches have always been recognized in America as a protected community under the free exercise and association clauses of the First Amendment.
“This initiative helps ensure religious communities will continue to have safe places available under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which has been strengthened today by a commitment to continue preventing discrimination. This action by the Department of Justice should encourage families and churches across the nation that President Trump is a strong advocate for their religious freedom.”