Attorney General Barr Rages Against Secularist “Assault” on ReligionBarr blames society’s problems, including “a deadly drug epidemic,” on a lack of faith.
Experts blame grim economic conditions and the predatory practices of pharmaceutical companies for the current opioid epidemic. Unrest and violence on the part of young men is often attributed to economic conditions and accessibility of fringe ideologies online. But Attorney General Bill Barr apparently has a different theory for both of these problems: not enough religion.
In a speech at University of Notre Dame’s law school Friday, Barr blamed “secularists” and “so-called progressives” for wreaking havoc on American society. Barr’s depiction of a war between the non-religious and people of faith shocked legal experts, who saw Barr’s defense of religious freedom as an assault on the First Amendment’s protection against the government’s establishment of any religion.
“This is not decay,” Barr said. “This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion & traditional values.” (Barr spent years profiting off of these same industries he is attacking. He served as general counsel at Verizon for eight years, held a had a paid position on the board of Time Warner for nine, and represented telecoms giant GTE in the 1990s.)
In his address Friday, Barr thundered against what he described as a “moral upheaval.” “Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground,” he said. “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 pointed particularly to public schools, according to an account of the speech from the Indianapolis Star. “Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools,” Barr said. “To me this is the most serious challenge to religious liberty today.” There is decades of Supreme Court caselaw removing religion from public schools because the First Amendment bans the government from establishing or giving primacy to a religion.
This isn’t the first time Barr has decried secular culture. He has been an advocate for more religion in American government, schools, and law for decades and has a history of involvement with conservative religious groups including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which litigated the Hobby Lobby case that allowed employers not to cover contraception coverage to employees. In 1995, for example, Barr penned an essay blaming “a steady and mounting assault on traditional values” since the 1960s for “soaring juvenile crime, widespread drug addiction and skyrocketing venereal diseases.”
Barr’s comments come as he is under a cloud of scandal for his active involvement in trying to find evidence of the unproven theory that Ukraine colluded with Democrats during the 2016 election—an effort that took Barr to Italy this year and may have dragged him into the Ukraine scandal that set of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Twitter, legal experts reacted to Barr’s speech with dismay.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the full 40 minute video of Barr's address for anyone interested, care of commenter Gideon:
Moldy Oldy: "Two guys walk into a bar...ReplyDelete
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Clarity matters. Traditional values is really just another term for ancient wisdom. Which is to say . . . wisdom that has endured because it was an effective component of successful social systems. Or said another way . . . wisdom is what has been proven to work. Young people are more likely to respond well to messaging when it is more clear rather than obtuse.ReplyDelete
While I agree with you completely, young people have learned a different lesson, simply:Delete
"Everything before yesterday is wrong."
We can debate the silliness of that perspective all day, but as young people most entirely operate from feelings, emotions, rational arguments won't move them. They've concluded experience isn't the teacher we recommend because colonialism, imperialism, paternalism, racism, sexism, and every other "ism" you can mention. For the young, those are examples of social systems for which they want no part.
That's the "messaging" they've received and absorbed.
"Experts blame grim economic conditions and the predatory practices of pharmaceutical companies for the current opioid epidemic. Unrest and violence on the part of young men is often attributed to economic conditions and accessibility of fringe ideologies online. But Attorney General Bill Barr apparently has a different theory for both of these problems: not enough religion."ReplyDelete
When I first read this I thought that you were posting another parody from the Babylon Bee. (Not really)
This is so self-obvious. Barr is right on. How many young lives will be lost before return to the path that we wisely trod for so many years?
Mother Jones: beyond parody.
I'm still amazed that Barr sailed through his confirmation hearings--compared to some other nominees.Delete
I'm not surprised. We still had outrage from the Kavanaugh hearings. Enough influential senators such as Graham were truly outraged.ReplyDelete
I guess the Dems figured that they couldn't stop him because the Reps were pretty woke at that point.
And maybe the Dems figured he would not go as far as he has.