AG William Barr: “Men Are Far Likelier To Obey Rules That Come From God”
Attorney General William Barr made waves last year when he condemned “militant secularists” for pushing a progessive agenda and said social ills like drug addiction and mental health issues are the result of a society leaving religion behind.
But yesterday, Barr took his pro-religion rhetoric to a whole new level, according to the Friendly Atheist. During a speech at the 2020 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, the nation’s top law enforcement officer said it is God’s laws and not the laws of men that people are inclined to obey.
In making his point and attempting to justify the religious right’s takeover of the federal government, Barr quoted John Adams, telling the audience:
“As I discussed in a speech I gave last fall at Notre Dame, while the Framers believed that religion and government should be separate spheres, they also firmly believed that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government. As John Adams put it: ‘We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.’”
But the Friendly Atheist noted that Barr chose to omit a key sentence in Adam’s quote, which he spoke to the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1798.
Here is the quote in its entirety: “Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
“He’s not saying Jesus is the solution to our woes,” the Friendly Atheist wrote. “Indeed, years later, Adams summarized his religion in four words: ‘Be just and good.’”
But Barr was not finished. Coming in for the close, the attorney general targeted atheists and suggested it is only the fear of an almighty God that keeps humans in check.
“How does religion protect against majoritarian tyranny?” Barr asked. “In the first place, it allows us to limit the role of government by cultivating internal moral values in the people that are powerful enough to restrain individual rapacity without resort to the state’s coercive power.”
He continued: “Experience teaches that, to be strong enough to control willful human beings, moral values must be based on authority independent of man’s will. In other words, they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being. Men are far likelier to obey rules that come from God than to abide by the abstract outcome of an ad hoc utilitarian calculus.”
Lamenting the growth of secularism in the United States, Barr said “this vital moderating force [religion] in our society has declined over the past several decades,” adding that “in recent years, we have seen the steady erosion of religion and its benevolent influence.”
“While most everyone agrees that we must have separation of Church and State, this does not require that we drive religion from the public square and affirmatively use government power to promote a culture of disbelief,” he said. “As Tocqueville would have predicted, this weakening of religion is contributing to ill-temper in our political life.”
Much of the “ill-temper” in our political life, however, comes from the very political figures who shout the loudest about their superior morality and religious and family values.
The Friendly Atheist noted that no one is advocating for the government to promote atheism — but Barr is surely seems to be advocating “for Christianity to become a de facto national religion.”