As state leaders continue shutting down businesses and shuttering Americans away in their homes, at least one top official is saying no to government overreach, even in times of crisis.
At least, that’s according to columnist Cheryl K. Chumley, who wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Times Thursday that Attorney General Bill Barr is still hard at work standing up for justice in America — and he’s doing a “magnificent” job at it, she said.
“In case you’ve missed it…Barr has been busily running here, speaking there, issuing warnings to local government about unconstitutional church worship crackdowns, sounding the alarm on federal and state overreach during times of national crises,” Chumley wrote Thursday.
Indeed, “Barr has been a steady supporter of individual rights among a sea of political and bureaucratic coronavirus-inspired crackdowns on individual, God-given, American rights,” Chumley wrote.
Part of that effort has included protecting Americans’ freedom of religion. As Chumley noted, Barr recently told Fox’s Laura Ingraham, “Religious liberty is the first liberty, the foundation.”
The attorney general later intervened, Chumley said, “in a bit of Mississippi madness that saw a mayor allowing police to set their cruisers perimeter-like around a church parking lot and fine car passengers $500 each for the crime of listening to their pastor as he preached.”
Last week, Barr vowed that “places of worship would not be ‘singled out’ amid coronavirus crackdowns,” Politico reported.
“The First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” the attorney general wrote in a statement, according to Politico. “Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.”
Chumley reported that the city dismissed the fines after Barr’s Justice Department intervened.
“A ray of light”
The columnist also praised Barr for his steadfast dedication to the Constitution — a trait that has remained even amid a global pandemic. According to USA Today, he told Ingraham earlier this month that state and local officials should be “very careful to make sure…that the draconian measures that are being adopted are fully justified, and there are not alternative ways of protecting people.”
“[K]udos to Barr,” Chumley opined in her editorial Thursday. “It’s a ray of light to see the U.S. attorney general’s office not just talking the Constitution talk, but also walking the Constitution walk. And forcing others to walk the Constitution walk, as well.”
One can only hope this trend continues.