Is Christianity under attack in the United States? | The Tylt

Is Christianity under attack in the United States?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced plans for the implementation of a "Religious Liberty Task Force" within the Justice Department. While Sessions listed numerous religious organizations the Justice Department has advocated for recently, the focus of his speech was on Christianity. Sessions believes the rights of Christians are under attack in the United States. Others believe Christianity, the most widely practiced religion in the country, is already well-protected. What do you think?

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In his speech, Sessions mentioned "nuns ordered to buy contraceptives" as an example of the ways in which the country has become increasingly intolerant towards those who openly practice their religious beliefs. Sessions was referring to the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who work as caretakers for the elderly poor. The Little Sisters objected to the Affordable Care Act's mandate that employers provide their employees with access to contraception. Per Slate:

In a case argued last month, Zubik v. Burwell, the order of nuns challenged the government’s efforts to work around their religious objections to paying for health insurance that covers contraception. The government had offered an accommodation, relieving them of any responsibility to provide contraception—it only asked that they notify either the federal health agency or their insurer of their religious objection. But the Little Sisters complained that by giving any kind of written notice, they would be triggering contraceptive coverage for their employees, who staff their nursing homes for impoverished seniors. They also objected that the government would make them complicit by “hijacking” their health plans to provide such coverage, even if there was no actual cost to the religious employer.
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However, as a religious non-profit, the Little Sisters were never required to purchase contraceptives for employees. The organization was merely asked to fill out a form indicating it was abstaining from the mandate due to religious beliefs. The Little Sisters went to court arguing that the mandate to fill out the form in of itself was infringing on the religious liberties of its members. The case was settled when the Sisters agreed to a compromise proposed by the government. Slateexplains the agreement, saying:  

They indicated a willingness to purchase plans that do not include contraceptive coverage, and they raised no legal objection to the government requiring the insurance companies that provide those plans to cover contraception for their employees. The distinction seems highly formalistic. Under the court’s suggested compromise, the nonprofits still express their religious objection, but they do so by purchasing plans that don’t include contraceptive coverage. Everything else remains the same.

The Sisters were not "ordered to buy contraceptives." To the contrary, the government provided the nonprofit with several options to voice its religious objections to the mandate. 

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Sessions goes on to mention Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple. Shortly before his case was decided by the Supreme Court, Phillips wrote an editorial for USA Today in which he described how he felt his religious liberties were being curtailed.

The two men who came into my shop that day were living out their beliefs. All I did was attempt to live out mine. I respect their right to choose and hoped they would respect mine.
They did not. And, considering all of the hate mail, obscene calls and death threats my family has received since I was sued, a lot of other people don’t see tolerance as a two-way street, either.
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The Supreme Court ultimately sided with Phillips. In their decision, the justices took pains to acknowledge his religious faith and his inalienable right to practice that faith. The Los Angeles Times wrote:

[T]he court ruling focused on how Phillips was treated unfairly by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and for this reason alone, he won his case.“The commission’s hostility [to Phillips and his religious beliefs] was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote. “Phillips was entitled to a neutral decision-maker who would give full and fair consideration to his religious objection.”

By this court ruling, Phillips' rights were protected and he was afforded the right to practice his religion as he saw fit.

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Even religious leaders can't agree on whether Christianity threatened. Some, like Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian relief organization, believe the task force is providing a critical service to the Christian community.

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Other leaders, like Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a Baptist minister and author, believe Christianity is already well-protected in the United States. Wilson-Hartgrove wrote an opinion piece for NBC News in which he says argues Sessions and those supporting the new task force are less concerned with maintaining the liberties of Christians than they are with curtailing the liberties of minority groups. 

[T]hese arguments boil down to one thing: discrimination. It is not enough for Christian nationalists to freely exercise their vision of a good life. In the name of “liberty,” they want the right to discriminate against those with whom they disagree.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Is Christianity under attack in the United States?
#ChristianityIsAtRisk
A festive crown for the winner
#ChristianityIsFine