US Attorney General William Barr blames secularism for society’s ills

US Attorney General William Barr blames secularism for society’s ills October 12, 2019

LAWYERS must unite to take a stand against secularism, which poses a grave threat to Christian-based morality in America.

Image via YouTube

That was the gist of a “religious freedom” speech given by US Attorney General William Barr, above, to Notre Dame law students in South Bend, Indiana, yesterday (Friday).

Barr, a “devout Catholic”,  claimed that an “assault” on organised religion by secularists has created a host of societal ills – especially the breakdown of the families  – and lawyers must fight against them in Congress, legislatures and the courts.

We must be vigilant to resist efforts by forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon our exercise of our faith.

Barr, invited to speak at the law school by the university’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, said the nation’s founders were Christians who thought religion was “indispensable” to a free democracy. But over the past 50 years, the Judeo-Christian moral values upon which the nation was founded have increasingly come under attack by secularists.

By any honest assessment the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim. Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground. Along with the wreckage of the family we are seeing 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 said the “micro-morality” of Christianity, in which people seek to transform the world by first transforming their own personal conduct and morality, is increasingly giving way to modern secularists’ “macro-morality,” in which people instead focus on political causes and collective action.

This system allows us not to worry so much about the strictures on our own private lives because we can find salvation on the picket line. We can signal our finely tuned moral sensibilities by participating in demonstrations on this cause or that.

South Bend Tribune screenshots

If Barr wanted to provide evidence that “destructive secular forces” were threatening America’s Christian values he could have pointed to more than 100 protesters who congregated near the venue and blew whistles, acknowledging the whistleblower complaint that has led to an inquiry by the Democrat-led US House on whether to impeach Trump.

Some protesters held signs with phrases, “Disbar Barr”, “Abolish ICE”, “Families Belong Together” and “Impeach Both of Them” while blowing their whistles.

In response to the protesters, some passers-by stopped to shout “Make America Great Again.”

Chuck Elum, of Mishawaka, attended the protest with handwritten signs on torn cardboard boxes. One had the words “Barr behind bars”. He said:

The Attorney General should be serving the people of the country, not the President.

Barr did not mention the impeachment inquiry during his talk and he declined to take questions from reporters, a Department of Justice policy for such visits.  Reporters were required to leave the law school’s McCartan Courtroom before Barr fielded questions from law students.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michael Neville

    Just another Christian whining that his religion is losing its dominance in American society. Nothing to see here.

  • Jim Jones

    In order to demonstrate what religion can do to support ethical behaviors . . .

    Barr did not mention the impeachment inquiry during his talk and he declined to take questions from reporters, a Department of Justice policy for such visits. Reporters were required to leave the law school’s McCartan Courtroom before Barr fielded questions from law students.

    Oh, wait!

  • Broga

    He didn’t mention the allegations about Groper Trump; or his treachery, or his financial disasters, or his comments about a genuine hero, John McCain who was imprisoned in Vietnam for years, “I prefer my heroes to escape.”

    Contempt doesn’t begin to describe the feeling that Trump arouses. Every minute this dope spends as President further stains the USA.

  • wannabe

    Why should we care? Notre Dame Law School is ranked about 20th in US law schools, ranked 8th in graduates attaining federal judicial clerkships, and is tied for 17th in graduates attaining Supreme Court clerkships. Most judges’ opinions are written by their clerks. Many judges were clerks themselves.

    Barr may be throwing meat to the Republican base but these students will be involved in defining what “personhood” and “rights” mean in US law for the next 40+ years.

  • Jim Jones

    He will stand for decades, centuries even, as proof of the dishonesty and hypocrisy of right wing theism. This is what they want, what they really, really want!

  • Broga

    The way they insist, these pitiless hypocrites, on insisting on high moral standards for others while splashing around in their own moral sewer sets new lows in political and religious hypocrisy. Children ripped from their mothers while the Trump outfit whines about Christian values, insisting on caring for the people while trashing the USA for profit, and there are so many other examples. Their whining about patriotism while in cahoots with with foreign countries. The White House seems infested with pastors and Trump’s failure to keep even vaguely competent and honest politicians is spectacular. The mandatory prayer meetings don’t help.

  • Michael Neville

    The religious will be fighting a rear-guard action for years. Sometimes they’ll win a skirmish. But Barr’s speech is quite literally whining. He can remember the good ol’ days when a Catholic bishop would say “shitte” and expect a whole bunch of other people to squat and make grunting noises. Nowadays the bishop is trying to explain to a grand jury why Fr. Kiddydiddler wasn’t reported to the police but instead was moved from parish to parish.

  • Broga

    The good old days were not so good unless the Inquisition, burning witches, extortion from believers by that brilliant scam that the priest could absolve your sins and save you from an eternity in hell were good.

  • wannabe

    Some of the whining is being encoded into law, like when public services are farmed out to religious organizations which then discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. States refusing to allow that are being accused of unconstitutional religious discrimination and their lawsuits are winding their way through the courts. When they get to SCOTUS, expect yet another bad decision.

  • Michael Neville

    I wrote a response to this post which has been vanished away by Patheos for violating the Official Patheos Naughty Word List™. I’ll repeat it with appropriate mispellings:

    In Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Mikado the Lord High Executioner, Koko, sings a patter song “I’ve Got a Little List” where he describes those people worthy of his professional attention. One couplet goes:

    And the idiott who praises with enthusiastic tone
    All centuries but this and every country but his own.

    I am not that idiott.

  • Broga

    I like this from W.B.Yeats which, although Yeats died in 1939 seems prescient.

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

  • William

    So this is what animates him — concern about secularism? This is what justifies playing stooge to an overtly criminal president, to protect his agenda? I knew there had to be a pretty good reason…

    The “soaring suicide rates” thing is complete BS, BTW.

  • Wile F. Coyote

    Statistical data indicates senseless societal violence, including homicide, has been in steady annual decline since the 70s, as well.

    But sh!thead Barr was delivering a tirade against secularism (defined as any sort of social order other than Christian totalitarianism), and demonstrable reality would have fuc!ed that all up.

    So what other options did this purity advocate have than egregiously exaggeration and/or outright lying?

    If near term the USA somehow avoids right wing totalitarianism (in no small part due to appointment of Heritage Foundation judicial recommendations under the Trump administration, and also during the first couple of centuries of climate change economic upheaval/mass migration of “others” anathema to Caucasian Christian conservatives), and against great odds remains the sorta secular democratic republic it has been since its outset, there at last wil be reasonable reason for a debate about what may well constitute a genuine miracle.

  • Seabiscuit
  • Ellen Yarbrough

    I’m watching a documentary about the witch burnings in Europe in the time of King James. Seems to me that religion is far more dangerous than secularism. It is sickening the power of religion to warp the human mind

  • gemini bowie

    “moral upheaval”

    If there is one thing that has been clear to me for most of my life, that is that religion in general, and xianity in particular, have little to do with moral accountability.

    And conservatives can shut their pie holes about family values. That ship sailed long ago.

  • Franseenit

    Our country cannot sit idly by and tolerate this person (Barr) and his caretaker (trump) while they piss all over America – I am so sick of their blather that is meaningless but is swallowed by the gullible myth believers of America…..

  • watchemoket

    “Just another Christian whining that his religion is losing its dominance in American society. Nothing to see here”

    On the contrary, AG Barr is not “just another Christian” in several respects, not the least of which is the power and reach of his position as >cough< chief law enforcement officer for the USA. The typical Christian whining about the "assault" on Christian dominance can't cause the problems that Barr can, by virtue of his position and his personal influence on many in government. He is sick, and he is dangerous.

  • Judy Thompson

    yes. I have the entire poem posted on my blog. I return to it often.

    He wrote it in 1919 when the world seemed to be galloping away with itself, and it seems appropriate now, and possibly the next time, and the next.

  • Bruce Kopetz

    Broga: Your rambling sentence fragment makes little sense. I think you’re suggesting Xtian fanatics consider the “good ol’ days” to be a) the Spanish Inquisition, b) murdering suspected “witches” during medieval times and c) when catholic priests officially sold “indulgences” for the forgiveness of “sin”. I sentence you to remedial English grammar and composition classes !

  • BertB

    I am really concerned, almost frightened, when the head of the Justice Department says stuff like this. If anybody needed proof that we need to suppress religious influence in our government, here it is.

  • Vincent Owen Gonzalez

    I have no desire to take away bars right to his own personal religious beliefs ( even though I may disagree with him on many doctrines from the Roman Catholic Church ( I am not nor have I ever been a member of a Roman Catholic Church as I object to many of their doctrinal beliefs). What I do object to is when he and other people like him try to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else that is wrong! And I fully believe in the separation of church and state. I do not believe any religious organization should have sway over a secular government. The founders of our country did not want a religious state especially like the ones they saw and fled from in Europe. The founding fathers set up our government to be a secular state.

  • Michael Bean

    Only in Theocratic America is secularism “destructive” to society while truely secular nations don’t seem to share that problem. As Mr. Spock would say…”Fascinating.”
    The obvious goal is to force their repressive and oppressive christian sharia law on all of us.

  • hermes brookover

    It is beyond interesting to me that barr is so steeped in his xtian morality while supporting the least moral man In the country. What value does his morality hold when used in support of an entirely amoral president?

  • ralphmeyer

    We all know Barr is a Trumpian JERKwater. Trump should be impeached, and Barr and his religious nonsense and bigotry KICKED OUT OF OFFICE forthwith. AND, Secular people are provably more ethical that religious nuts who are clearly bigoted and do harm to people who disagree with their crap.

  • Larry Dawson

    Barr would not know Christian morality if he stepped in it.

  • Joan Frances DaVanzo

    The secular values that are dangerous to us today are the worship of wealth (and the wealthy), power (and the powerful), status (and individuals of high status). These “really secular values” are all the ones that Barr practices and believes in. If he were opposed to THESE secular values, Barr would oppose Donald J. Trump.

  • Mythblaster

    Not only sailed long ago, but sank from the sheer weight of the right’s hypocrisy.

  • Mythblaster

    But it would smell just as bad as the canine stuff…

  • towercam

    It saddens me, that Mr. Barr can apparently live with himself and still voice such sad, crippling views.
    No wonder traitor Trump grabbed him.

  • Broga

    Yeats was a great poet and I return to it as well. Most people, if they know any poetry at all, don’t get past the “Lake Isle of Innisfree”. Yeats became irritated as he was so identified with that. He had a fascinating and troubled life but perhaps that is the crucible that forges great writing.

  • Art Davison

    Maybe Barr’s never heard that most European countries, with much lower levels of religiousity than the U.S., have far fewer crimes and much higher levels of pesonal,satisfaction.

  • DeadBabyJoke
  • DeadBabyJoke

    You got the name wrong. It’s not Trump, it’s Super Callous Fragile Racist Sexist Nazi Potus. Get it right! 😉