Mary Margaret Olohan
Attorney General William Barr warned that religious people are not imposing their beliefs on others, but that “militant secularists” are imposing their values on religious people.
Barr discussed religious freedom in the United States during an interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and co-host Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, on SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel. The attorney general warned that religion is being “driven out of the marketplace of ideas,” and that “there’s an organized, militant secular effort to drive religion out of our lives.”
“The problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on non-religious people,” Barr said. “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.”
Barr pointed 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.”
Barr added that he was not talking about mixing church and state.
“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.”
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