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The Attorney General yearns for theocracy October 16, 2019

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Ethics, Politics, Religion.
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Last week, at Notre Dame University, U.S. Attorney General William Barr grumbled at length about an “increasing attack” on religion by “militant secularists”, while espousing his view (which he also attributed to The Framers) that free government is “only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.” And not just any religion, of course.

Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct… They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and the best operation of human society. And by the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad real-world consequences for man and for society…

I won’t dwell on the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has coincided, and I believe has brought with it, immense suffering and misery.

Barr blames secularism for everything from drug overdoses to mental illness to “an increase in senseless violence”, decries licentiousness and abortion and the secularization of public schools (“we should do all we can to promote and support authentic Catholic education at all levels”) — you get the picture.

I could rebut Barr’s tired assertions: I could point out that so-called “Judeo-Christian moral standards” have (thankfully) changed over time; that the Bible contains mountains of barbaric “instruction” that no civilized person endorses any more (from stoning children to genocide); that the moral progress made in the modern era (rule of law, freedom of speech, equal rights without discrimination by sex/race/religion, etc.) is the product of secular Enlightenment values prevailing at long last over religion’s “traditional moral order”; that the healthiest countries nowadays are generally the most secular; that crime rates have been declining for decades; and so on.

I could rebut Barr’s tired assertions — but really, I don’t need to: just take a look at the person doing the preaching. William Barr, who serves the administration of a President who never met a moral standard he couldn’t sink below. William Barr, who misled the public about the results of the special counsel investigation of that President. William Barr, proud supporter of the Catholic Church, an organization responsible for centuries of incalculable human suffering and misery, from the Inquisition to the Magdalene asylums to the systemic enabling of child rape. This person is lecturing us about morality.

I won’t dwell on the bitter results of people believing dogmatically that their religion is in possession of God’s ultimate rulebook for human society and that violations of those rules lead inevitably to death and destruction. Suffice it to say that such people should not be in charge of law enforcement in a democracy.

(via Butterflies & Wheels)