In a recent discussion on the Catholic Channel, Attorney General William Barr warned that there is an organized effort to drive religion out of the public square and that “militant secularists” are trying to impose their secular values on religious people.
During his January 28 appearance on the Sirius XM talk show “Conversation With Cardinal Dolan” with Dolan and co-host Father Dave Dwyer, Barr contended that the First Amendment is under assault.
He began by pointing out that the Founding Fathers viewed religion as “essential to maintaining a free country.”
“The reason they 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,” Barr said. “All the founders, and as you pointed out earlier to me, Your Eminence, Alexis de Tocqueville observed the centrality of religion, to the health of American democracy.”
To placate those who fret about the looming threat of “religious totalitarianism,” Barr stressed that he was not talking about mixing church and state, but about allowing people space to live their lives according to their moral values.
“We believe in the separation of church and state, 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 attorney general went on to say that the real threat to civil liberties was not coming from religious people, but from what he called “militant secularists.”