Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the man who served as Attorney General in the early 1990’s under President George H.W. Bush would have written an anti-gay and religious call to action, lamenting the civil rights advancements of the 30 years prior, and modern culture which he saw as far too sexually permissive.
Former Attorney General William Barr, who served under the first President Bush, penned a wildly anti-equality, anti-First Amendment, 5000 word treatise published by a Catholic University in 1995 that sounds exactly like it was written by a far right wing religious conservative.
Because it was.
In it, he rails against what he sees as the “increasingly militant, secular age,” the “bigotry” of “a growing hostility toward religion,” and “efforts to marginalize or ‘ghettoize’ orthodox religion.”
He derided the “the steady erosion of the traditional Judeo-Christian moral system,” and “traditional morality.”
Barr is not a fan of the 1960’s.
“It is undeniable that, since the mid-1960s, there has been a steady and mounting assault on traditional values. We have lived through thirty years of permissiveness, the sexual revolution, and the drug culture,” he laments.
All this is leading up to “the most significant feature of contemporary society,” which Barr claims is “the battering that the family has taken.”
Not, say, computers, space travel, modern medicine, greater access to education, or, freedom in general.
In fact, Barr sees “the immense power of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, academia, and so forth as “barriers to the return of traditional morality.”
“The power and pervasiveness of our high-tech popular culture … fuels the collapse of morality,” he says.
And then there’s this, which should concern every American who cares about the First Amendment and the separation of church and state: “The state no longer sees itself as a moral institution, but a secular one.”
Imagine an Attorney General who would like to “repair” that, and have the federal government act as a moral, or religious institution. We saw a glimpse of that under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. William Barr is Jeff Sessions on steroids, coupled with decades more experience.
Barr continues, attacking what Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern identifies as “DC’s gay nondiscrimination law.”
As of 1995, William Barr did not care for gay people, declaring that DC's gay nondiscrimination law "dissolves any form of moral consensus in society."
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) January 14, 2019
“Another example was the effort to apply District of Columbia law to compel Georgetown University to treat homosexual activist groups like any other student group,” Barr writes. “This kind of law dissolves any form of moral consensus in society. There can be no consensus based on moral views in the country, only enforced neutrality.”
Just before that, Barr writes that a “way in which secularists use law as a weapon is to pass laws that affirmatively promote the moral relativist viewpoint. Such laws seek to ratify, or put on an equal plane, conduct that previously was considered immoral.”
Will U.S. Senators on the Judiciary Committee ask Barr this week about his views on marriage, and the rights of minorities, including LGBTQ people?
Barr also cites laws that “are proposed that treat a cohabitating couple exactly as one would a married couple.”
While he doesn’t say it, he clearly could be referring to same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.
Barr also talks about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and throws this bible-based bombshell: “Self-government did not mean the mechanism by which one elected representatives to a legislative body. Self-government referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”
He concludes with a call to action, asking, “how can we be confident that the pendulum will swing back?” In other words, how can we take the civil rights advances from the ’60’s on and push them back?
“The real message is that we are going to have to do more than joust around the margins. We must re-enter the fray in an effective way; take the battlefield and enter the struggle, rather than just retire in good order. The key is a return to basics-in a sense, to reassemble the flock,” Barr decides.
And he also calls for “vouchers at the state level and ultimately at the federal level to support parental choice in education,” meaning religious, and especially Catholic education. “We should press at every turn for the inclusion of religious institutions. We need to fight those cases in the states up to the Supreme Court.”
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, now chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will begin hearings on the nomination of William Barr to become the next Attorney General on Tuesday.
Mass rallies, crazy decisions, grandiose posturing: This is what living in a dictatorship feels like
Another week of shaking our heads and wondering how much longer we can survive him. Yet again, Donald Trump overwhelmed practically everything with the force of his obscene personality, running his mouth and his thumbs even while he was failing to run the country in any sort of conventional sense. He doesn’t actually do anything, but he dominates everything. Living in America today is like being trapped in a room with him — no doors, no windows, no exits, only Trump and the sound of Trump and the hideous image of Trump, all day, every day, for day after day after day.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Trump’s new press secretary isn’t holding briefings because she fears suffering Sarah Sanders’ ‘fate’: report
The White House has a new press secretary, but even if you’re a pretty close follower of political news, you may have missed her.
Stephanie Grisham, who had previously been serving just as First Lady Melania Trump’s communications director, took over for Sarah Sanders as press secretary for President Donald Trump at the beginning of July. She has retained her previous position working for the first lady, and she’s also functioning White House communications director.
One way she has been able to juggle all these duties is that she has declined to hold a single on-camera press briefing since taking over for Sanders. Sanders had once held briefings with some regularity but by the end of tenure, she had gone months without taking questions from reporters in the White House press room. CNN reported Friday that it has been 165 days since a formal on-camera White House briefing. The State Department and the Pentagon, too, have drastically cut back on their press availabilities.
Court delivers brutal ruling against Kim Davis — the Kentucky clerk who blocked same-sex marriages
In 2015, Christian fundamentalist Kim Davis (who was serving as clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky at the time) was praised by the right wing after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — a violation of federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court had just, in effect, legalized same-sex marriage all over the country with its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. Some same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in response, and a federal appeals court has reaffirmed that the State of Kentucky will have to pay a hefty amount thanks to Davis.