Eric Holder finally defends religious freedom . . . almost

Eric Holder Just Us

During his confirmation hearing in 2009, Eric Holder made this commitment to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people:

“The attempt to politicize the department will not be tolerated should I become attorney general of the United States.”

“I will work to restore the credibility of a department badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference….”

Yet, beginning with one of his first actions as the new Attorney General, when he dropped charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for violating the rights of white voters in a Philadelphia precinct during the 2008 elections, Mr. Holder has established a track record as being more than willing to put politics ahead of the rights of Americans.

Just a few examples where Holder has been more than willing to use “improper political interference” has been in the areas of: right to bear armsfreedom of speech, and freedom of the press. He recently instructed Attorneys General across the country to ignore the law—in violation of the Constitution—if they represent a state where homosexual marriage isn’t legal. But perhaps one of the most troubling has been in the area of religious freedom. Some of the more notable instances where this has been the case are:

  • In the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Holder’s DOJ argued that a church cannot fire an employee for acting contrary to church teaching. In this case, Holder’s office expressed a belief that religious schools should not be  able to enjoy a longstanding exemption to various employment laws which conflict  with church teaching, or, the “ministerial exception.”
  • Defended the contraception mandate contained in Obamacare against Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic college in North Carolina, and Colorado Christian University, an evangelical college in Denver stating, “I don’t think the rule that HHS promulgated was one that ran counter to the religious prohibitions that are contained in the First Amendment.”
  • Responded to a lawsuit against the Obama administration involving the HHS contraception mandate, stating that business owners don’t have religious freedom rights.
  • Petitioned the Supreme Court to reject a contraception exemption for the nuns working at the Little Sisters of the Poor.

But now this attack on religious freedom has apparently come to an end. According to a local news story:

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against  the School District of Philadelphia, claiming a rule regulating the length of  employees’ beards constitutes religious discrimination.

School police officer Siddiq Abu-Bakr maintained an untrimmed beard for the 27  years he worked at the district, the suit states. Abu-Bakr is a member of the Islamic faith, which he says requires that he not cut his beard.

“No employee should be forced to violate his religious beliefs in order to earn a living,” Spencer Lewis Jr., district director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia  District Office, said in a statement.

While Eric Holder and the Obama administration are clearly selective in their application of the Constitution, giving preferential treatment to Muslims while denying the rights of Christians and Jews, they are at least making the effort when it suits their agenda.

So rejoice! Eric Holder is finally defending religious freedom . . . almost.


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