There is a new civil war in America. It’s not a traditional war fought with conventional weapons. No, this is a spiritual war pitting militant secularists against people of faith.
Earlier this month, Attorney General William Barr spoke at the University of Notre Dame about this threat of “militant secularists” on religious freedom. In his speech, Barr said, “The challenge we face is precisely what the Founding Fathers foresaw would be our supreme test as a free society.”
That challenge, he explained, is best summed up in a quote from James Madison, who said, “We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments of God.”
The Founding Fathers understood that citizens in a free country must govern themselves from within. In his farewell address, President George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
But excluding religious principles from the public square is exactly the goal of the secularists.
Barr, who is Catholic, says, “The problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.”
“Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives,’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values,” Barr said.
Barr believes ground zero for these attacks on religion is schools. “To me, this is the most serious challenge to religious liberty.” Listing examples, Barr cites laws in New Jersey, Illinois and California “requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching.”
Remember, President Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform America.” Indoctrinating students is the surest way to accomplish that.
Like President Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of government in the next.”
Barr reminded the audience of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act—RFRA. It was introduced by Democrats Chuck Schumer in the House and Ted Kennedy in the Senate. It passed without controversy.
But remember the firestorm in 2015, when RFRA was signed into law in Indiana? What changed? The culture has become more secularized and intolerant of religious liberty.
Barr said militant secularists today use state laws to force religious schools to adhere to secular orthodoxy. A teacher is suing the Indianapolis Archdiocese because of its policy against employing teachers in same-sex marriages.
Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said that, if elected, he would take away the tax-exempt status of churches and schools that did not accept same-sex marriage.
Hmm. I thought we were told that same-sex marriage would have no effect on anyone else.
Reaction from the left to Barr’s speech was swift. Joan Walsh with The Nation called Barr a “paranoid right-wing Catholic ideologue who won’t respect the separation of church and state.” Barr was already being smeared by the media for his investigation into Russian meddling in 2016, accusing him of hunting for conspiracy theories.
So how are people of faith to respond? Barr said, “We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.”
And Christians must support Barr as he fights the good fight.•
Varvel is a political cartoonist and illustrator who retired from The Indianapolis Star last year. Send comments to [email protected]
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