Bill Barr just keeps giving Democrats reasons to hate him — not that he cares.
The attorney general gave an unapologetic defense of religious freedom in a recent interview with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, The Washington Times reported. Barr, who is Catholic, said that religion is essential to the functioning of a democracy and warned that “militant secularists” are trying to impose their irreligion on people of faith throughout the country.
Barr defends religious freedom
Since Barr rose to the office, Democrats have attacked him as a toady of the president who, they claim, sanitized the Mueller report and gave credence to “conspiracy theories” that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was spied on by the FBI. But he has also been the subject of windy, panicked articles in liberal magazines such as The New Yorker depicting him as some kind of reactionary crusader with dangerously authoritarian views on presidential power.
The alarm over Barr’s political philosophy was sparked with a series of speeches that Barr gave starting last fall. In an October speech at Notre Dame, Barr slammed “militant secularists” for corroding society’s moral fabric with “an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values” that uses the collective force of “mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia.” The speech sparked a harsh reaction from the left, who proved his point by labeling him an authoritarian bigot.
In his interview with Cardinal Dolan, Barr repeated his warning that people of faith are under attack by a relentless adversary. It’s secularists who are forcing their values on religious people, he said, not the other way around.
“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.”
AG: Religion critical to democracy
Barr, who has attributed a host of social ills to a decline of religious faith and freedom in American society, went on to discuss the Founding Fathers and their views on religion and democracy. The country’s founders understood the two to be inseparable, he said.
In a nation where people have morals and faith, the citizens have enough self-discipline to govern their appetites, he said. The Founding Fathers created a Constitution with a limited government because they thought that a religious people would not need an expansive state to keep order.
“The reason [the founding fathers] felt they could grant so much freedom in the Constitution and only provide for limited government was because they felt that religion was there and the people were religious people who could largely govern themselves,” he said.
Barr also discussed his views of presidents George H.W. Bush and Trump, in whose administrations he has served as attorney general. He said that he loved both men for different reasons.
“They’re very different,” he said. “I love both men — H.W. [Bush] was more low-key. He had a very strong interest in foreign policy in which he really focuses attention on. The interesting thing about President Trump is that he is very hands-on, he’ll bring people in to explain things to him, he’ll reach down and bring the experts in, and he listens.
Despite an endless stream of smears targeting him, Barr has responded to partisan attacks with unflappable calm. It doesn’t look like he’s terribly concerned with what his hand-wringing critics think.