Attorney general warns of ‘organized, militant’ effort to suppress religious freedom

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Attorney General William Barr

U.S. Attorney General William Barr expressed the belief of many religious people in an interview this week, describing to New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan “an organized, militant secular effort” to exclude religion from “the marketplace of ideas.”

“The problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on non-religious people,” Barr told Dolan on Conversation with Cardinal Dolan, his SiriusXM radio show. “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.”

Pointing to Democrat politicians’ campaign to coerce employers to violate their religious conscience as well as ongoing efforts to expand abortion access, Barr has increasingly spoken out about what he sees as growing hostility toward religious liberty.

He drew bitter media criticism in October over a speech at Notre Dame Law School in which he said religious Americans face “social, educational, and professional ostracism.”

According to the National Review, the attorney general explained Wednesday that the Founders believed in “the centrality of religion to the health of American democracy,” and that a loss of popular religiosity was a danger to the republic.

“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.”

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