AG Barr says Justice Department will fight to enforce 'traditional values'


In a speech at Notre Dame Law School, Attorney General William Barr made clear he puts the rights and interests of Christians above everyone else.

Last Friday, Attorney General William Barr gave a speech in which he railed against the evils of secularism and made clear he believes that a conservative Christian worldview should be imposed on everyone.

Barr's speech, delivered at Notre Dame Law School, was exactly what you would expect from a member of an administration that has used "religious freedom" as a weapon against everyone who isn't an evangelical Christian. Indeed, his speech didn't seem to have anything to do with his role as a lawyer or as attorney general — the person charged with representing the interests of the United States. Instead, it was the kind of speech one might expect from a third-rate evangelical preacher.

Barr complained of a "campaign to destroy the traditional moral order" in America and blamed "the forces of secularism" for a laundry list of ills: "the wreckage of the family...record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence and the deadly drug epidemic." Barr also went after "so-called progressives," as if being progressive is incompatible with being religious.

He also called schools — presumably public schools, not conservative Catholic schools, like Notre Dame — "ground zero" for attacks on religion. And in case anyone had any doubt as to precisely what that meant, he drew attention to a recent New Jersey law that "requir[es] schools to adopt a LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching."

That New Jersey law simply requires public schools to include lessons about "the political, economic, and social contributions" of LGBTQ people. Under Barr's logic, students merely learning that LGBTQ individuals have made contributions to society is "inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching."

Barr also painted conservative Christians as beset on all sides, saying that secularists have "marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion & traditional values." The logical corollary to this terrifying assertion is that the state must use its power to crush those things — news, entertainment, academia — that stand in the way of "traditional values."

Finally, Barr used his speech to make a promise to religious people only: "I can assure you that as long as I am attorney general, that the Department of Justice will be at the forefront of this effort, ready to fight for the most cherished of all our American liberties: the freedom to live according to our faith."

First, not all Americans would agree that living "according to our faith" is the "most cherished" of this country's liberties. Indeed, likely only the overtly religious would say so. Next, to the extent America was founded on such a principle, it was explicitly as a repudiation to the notion of state-sponsored or state-imposed religion.

Barr and his ilk actively wish to impose their narrow view of faith on the rest of the country, and that's downright un-American.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.