Bill Barr, warrior for theocracy: Why didn't we know this until now?The attorney general has gradually revealed his terrifying agenda: Who knew

Feb 2006
Bill Barr, warrior for theocracy: Why didn't we know this until now?

The attorney general has gradually revealed his terrifying agenda: Who knew, and why was this concealed so long?

As originally published, this article asserted that William Barr is a member of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic organization. Opus Dei has issued an official statement asserting that he is not. Salon regrets the error.

It has long been an article of faith (no pun intended) among some on the left that the culture war was simply a cynical tool of the conservative movement to fool the rubes into voting against their economic interests. In this reading, right-wing leaders had no intention of ever following through on culture-war issues. They would string the voters along forever, promising to deliver on abortion or gay rights or guns but never really getting the job done, the assumption being that they could keep the conservative base's intensity at full throttle if those voters believed they were on the cusp of getting their agenda passed. Meanwhile, as the marks were distracted by endless culture-war skirmishes, the big money conservatives would pass laws that benefited themselves and harmed their own voters.

As it happens, it did indeed go down that way. The conservative movement benefactors made out like bandits while Republican voters got screwed economically. But the notion that the rich men in charge would never have to deliver on their culture-war promises was always wrong. Eventually, they would have to pay the piper.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that they were ready when he withheld the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland during Barack Obama’s last year and then confirmed the Federalist Society’s darling, true blue social conservative Neil Gorsuch, as soon as Donald Trump took office. Evangelical leaders rushed to Brett Kavanaugh’s defense when he was under fire for his decadent youthful behavior and was accused of sexual assault during the confirmation hearings because they had been assured he would hew to the party line. Kavanaugh's threats to take revenge on all who opposed him probably reassured the religious right that he would vote the right way on the cases they care about.

McConnell’s Job No. 1 was to get a Supreme Court majority that would protect the interests of the wealthy and ensure the government didn’t burden business with inconvenient regulations. But he also made sure he got justices who would give the social conservatives what they had been demanding. The lower courts are now packed with the most far-right extremists he could find.

This week 38 U.S. senators and 168 House members filed an amicus brief in an abortion case the Supreme Court is hearing, urging it to "reconsider" Roe v. Wade as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which barred states from placing an undue burden on access to abortions. They are ready to reward the religious right for their years of loyalty. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, I have a feeling any cracks in the Republican coalition will miraculously mend right up.

As it happens, some very important people in legal circles are true believers themselves. The man most responsible for putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the court as well as more than 100 lower court judges, is the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo. He is a member of the ultra-conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei and has served on the board of its affiliate, the Catholic Information Center, whose goal is to influence and convert members of the political elite. (Among the converts are Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.)

William Barr, the attorney general of the United States, has also served on the board of the Catholic Information Center, although Opus Dei has officially denied that he is a member. Just as the political and media establishment conveniently overlooked Barr's long-term commitment to the "unitary executive theory" in its most extreme form, they didn’t seem to know that he was even more committed to far-right social conservatism. It wasn’t until Barr gave a speech at Notre Dame last October that everyone finally understood to what degree he is a religious crusader.

In that speech he said many things, blaming “secularists” for causing immense pain and suffering and “moral chaos.” He suggested that “the law is being used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values and to establish moral relativism as a new orthodoxy” and went on to detail how he was counteracting that as attorney general. His views are what Katherine Stewart and Caroline Fredrickson identified in a New York Times op-ed as "religious nationalism," which basically implies either a theocratic state or a single-religion state.

Dec 2015
The most prophetic thing I saw was saying "Everyone criticizes Trump for appointing people with no experience, but here's Bill Barr, no one has more experience than Bill Barr in coverups, Iran-Contra, Iraqgate, etc.."
Barr isn't stupid. He was offered the job. He wanted the job and now we know WHY he wanted the job. I'm pretty sure he wants an even higher position in the administration, but.......Barr gets a big pat on the back. He completely hoodwinked Congress and the American people with his convincing, "sincerity" during his interview. We all watched it. We all believed him. AND now Barr is Trump's personal attorney.
He has intentionally misled the American public. He has lied, contrived, and duped all of us. We can only hope he'll be taken DOWN eventually.
Feb 2007
“Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven....The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.”

― Mark Twain