Attorney General Sessions Task Force is A Tool for Division

JULY 31, 2018
Contact: Loretta Kane ([email protected] or 917-410-7242)

Statement of Auburn Seminary President Katharine R. Henderson

NEW YORK — Yesterday, Attorney General Sessions announced a new “Religious Liberty Task Force.” In response, Auburn President the Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson and Senior Vice President Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush issued the following statement:

As religious leaders who have intentionally engaged people and communities from diverse religious traditions, we know the power spirituality holds to inspire compassion, to help us love our neighbor as well as the stranger and to bring people together for the common good. Yet, as we also know all too well, religion, when weaponized and misused, can be a force that divides us by promoting mistrust, bigotry and discrimination. Unfortunately, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force is an example of the latter.

“Sessions and the Trump administration have consistently demonstrated that they care less for religious liberty for all than misusing the principle of religious liberty to preference one religion, namely Evangelical Christianity, over all other expressions of faith in the United States. In the past years, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have seen sharp increases, with permission given through rhetoric from the White House, including in the aftermath of Charlottesville, whose tragic anniversary we will soon observe. The ardent support of the Muslim ban by the Trump administration, alone, makes plain the lie of Session’s task force, which offers the veneer of religiosity to camouflage a nationalist agenda, against people of minority faith traditions as well as discrimination against LGBT people.

“America’s religious community is one of the most diverse in the world. We celebrate one another’s holy days and are often seen side by side in times of joy and tragedy. We need an administration that understands religious values can be used to unify; unfortunately, the Religious Liberty Task Force is just one more example of the Trump administration sowing division among the American people.”


Auburn Seminary is a leadership development and research institute, working to build the field of the multifaith movement for justice. From local to global, Auburn equips leaders of faith and moral courage and brings together unlikely partners to address today’s seemingly intractable challenges, strengthen communities and inspire hope.

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