During an interview with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan yesterday, Attorney General William Barr did what he does best: lie.
He claimed that there was a “militant secular effort” to suppress religion, despite failing to define whatever “militant” secularism means.
“The problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on non-religious people,” Barr told Dolan on his SiriusXM radio show Conversation with Cardinal Dolan. “It’s the opposite — it’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people, and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.”
“We believe in the separation of church and state,” Barr stated. “But what permits a limited government and minimal command and control of the population — and allows people to have freedom of choice in their lives — and trust in the people is the fact that they are a people that are capable of disciplining themselves according to moral values.”
The hypocrisy is obvious here: Secular people are fighting for government neutrality on matters of religion. Most of us don’t want the government interfering in our private decisions, certainly not when they involve our bodies or beliefs.
Barr and his fellow Republicans want government preference for one faith. They want to push their conservative Christian beliefs onto everyone else. They want to block women from obtaining abortions, they want to block LGBTQ people from having civil rights, they want to punish non-Christian immigrants and refugees, etc. None of that is separation of church and state; that’s a theocracy under a different name.
Barr also claimed in another part of the interview that atheists were trying to drive religion out of public life.
It likely goes without saying, but most of the claims — historical and current — in this exchange between AG Bill Barr and Cardinal Timothy Dolan are contested. https://t.co/RQ69NwsrMB
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) January 29, 2020
That’s another lie. No atheist organization or prominent individual has said religious people should be punished for their beliefs. No one’s fighting to shut down churches. Trying to persuade people to think like you isn’t a crime, and everyone does that.
It’s scary that the top lawyer in the country doesn’t have a basic understanding of the law. But that’s also the only reason Donald Trump appointed him. A competent lawyer wouldn’t say any of this. It takes a conservative Christian like Barr to be this ignorant.