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Long Before Lying to Congress, Barr’s Views on Church and State Should Have Disqualified Him

May 8, 2019

By Becky Garrison

Last week Democrats accused Attorney General William Barr of shilling for Donald Trump following his testimony before Congress. While much attention has been paid to his defenses of Trump, there has been very little examination of how Barr’s background as a conservative Catholic informs his current political decisions. To shed some light on this topic, I interviewed Rob Boston, Senior Adviser for Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Editor of Church & State magazine.

What prompted you to write this piece on Barr’s religious background?

When President Trump named William Barr to be U.S. Attorney General, just about all of the discussion in the media consisted of speculation about how Barr might deal with Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. The Mueller investigation is important, but I knew that as attorney general  Barr would be our nation’s top law-enforcement official and would be responsible for lots of different issues, many of which would affect religious freedom. When Barr’s name was floated, I remembered that he held some pretty extreme views on separation of church and state. I thought it was important to bring those to light.

What does Barr’s support for Jeff Sessions signify? 

Sessions was always a favorite of the Religious Right. Although the two men have different religious beliefs, their outlooks on church-state separation are very similar. Barr’s support for Sessions is an indication that under his rule, the U.S. Justice Department would continue to pursue policies that weaken church-state separation.

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One comment on “Long Before Lying to Congress, Barr’s Views on Church and State Should Have Disqualified Him”

  • When President Trump named William Barr to be U.S. Attorney General, just about all of the discussion in the media consisted of speculation about how Barr might deal with Robert Mueller’s Russia probe

    I’ve said this before: Trump is not in charge.  He’s a clown, employed to do what he does best – soak up your attention to distract you from what’s really going on, to exercise your disgust reflex in order to drain your political energy and feed your feeling of being in a hopeless situation and a bureaucratic and constitutional vandal.

    It staggers me that some people still think the Mueller investigation is important. It’s just another act in the circus.  Impeaching Trump will make him a martyr and unleash Pence.  Which is why Pence is there, of course … you want to do that, really … ?

    As per the mid terms, the only way is through the ballot box.

    Progressives have the future Democrats lined up but is that enough voters?  My betting is that the new progressives don’t quite have enough on their own and splitting the party is not advisable.  Compromise does not mean giving up everything you hold dear, some boundaries will be required, but now is the time for the Democrats to focus, primarily, on 2020 and that means trading.


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