Letter to the Editor:

Oct. 11, the attorney general of the United States, William Barr, delivered remarks at the law school of the University of Notre Dame. 

The attorney general has an obligation to ensure that the rights of all Americans are honored and respected. That is not what happened in this speech.

Instead, what transpired was a brazen attack on a quarter of the American population; the roughly 84 million citizens whose religious views do not align with Mr. Barr.

It was a raw expression of Christian nationalism and a shameful attempt to intimidate those of us who adhere to a secular, not theocratic, vision of America.

In a revolutionary moment in world history, the founders of this republic wisely chose to establish a national government immune from the religious influence and domination that had plagued the European continent for centuries. They also wisely chose to allow for the individual expression of religious practice.

The tension between these two choices has played a central role in the cultural history of this country. That tension is certainly in evidence today, as American society becomes increasingly less religious and more ethnically diverse.

I suspect Mr. Barr feels very threatened by all this.

In the speech, Barr goes on about the evils of “militant secularism” which he blames for pretty much every problem confronting the nation; everything from drug use to “illegitimate” children to moral relativism. He trots out the usual narrative of godless fascism and communism, equating that evil history with the growing ranks of modern-day militant secularists.

Secularism, he opined, is an existential threat to what remains of religious freedom. “Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage and misery,” he declared.

Not surprisingly, there is no mention of the immense suffering, wreckage and misery that has been an integral part of the Judeo-Christian heritage; a long history that includes the death and torture of millions over the centuries. No mention even of the recent history of child abuse and cover-up at the hands of Mr. Barr’s own Catholic hierarchy.

Of course there is no mention, much less condemnation, of the moral black hole that is the essence of the man he works for.

Moral values? It depends. 

I guess it has something to do with relativity.

Jeff Laadt

Eagle River