Secularism and Moral Order

In a recent speech at the University of Notre Dame, U.S. Attorney General William Barr warned that “militant secularists” were behind a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.”

Militant: Showing a fighting disposition; belligerent, warlike, aggressive

Secularist: Believes that religion should be excluded from government and education

Moral order: A body of unwritten social mores and conventions which serve to maintain societal order

(Yes, Attorney Barr, I’m most definitely a secularist but I would hardly call myself a “militant.” Moreover, I happen to believe we do need social mores — just not those based on religious standards.)

In this same speech, Barr also said that (so-called) secularists are a threat to the freedom that allows people to worship as they please.

(I disagree. Most secularists just don’t want to join in that worship.)

Barr also believes secularists are to blame for drug abuse, violence, and mental illness. And of course society’s lack of Christian values.

According to him, the “campaign” to destroy traditional moral order “has brought with it immense suffering and misery. And yet the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.”

Interestingly, a Roman Catholic theologian described Barr’s speech as a “dog whistle” to those who have aligned themselves to Donald Trump in a campaign to limit the rights of LGBTQ Americans, immigrants and non-Christians, especially Muslims, and to criminalize almost all abortions. He asserted that Barr is “taking positions that are essentially un-Democratic because they demolish the wall between church and state.”

(AMEN, Brother!)

Further, the president of Catholics for Choice (a group that advocates for Catholics who support a woman’s right to abortion and other reproductive freedoms) said that Barr’s speech should “put the fear of God into anybody who cares about freedom, democracy and the separation of religion and politics.”


This, dear readers, are the basic beliefs of the man currently serving as the Attorney General of the United States. While it’s a given he will attempt to work his personal beliefs and standards into his position of Attorney General, based on the description for his office, he should remain neutral.

https://www.justice.gov/jmd/organization-mission-and-functions-manual-attorney-general

The mission of the Office of the Attorney General is to supervise and direct the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals Service, which are all within the Department of Justice.

The principal duties of the Attorney General are to:

  • Represent the United States in legal matters.
  • Supervise and direct the administration and operation of the offices, boards, divisions, and bureaus that comprise the Department.
  • Furnish advice and opinions, formal and informal, on legal matters to the President and the Cabinet and to the heads of the executive departments and agencies of the government, as provided by law.
  • Make recommendations to the President concerning appointments to federal judicial positions and to positions within the Department, including U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.
  • Represent or supervise the representation of the United States Government in the Supreme Court of the United States and all other courts, foreign and domestic, in which the United States is a party or has an interest as may be deemed appropriate.
  • Perform or supervise the performance of other duties required by statute or Executive Order.

(I don’t see anything in there that discusses religious mores, do you?)

As many of us have noticed, Barr has shown himself to be nothing more than one of Trump’s lackeys … along with several other individuals (both in and out of government). It’s truly a stain on the Constitution of the United States that so many of those serving in the current administration have abandoned the moral high ground in return for pats on the head by a thoroughly corrupt POTUS.

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29 thoughts on “Secularism and Moral Order

  1. Hello Nan. I think when Barr says this

    In this same speech, Barr also said that (so-called) secularists are a threat to the freedom that allows people to worship as they please.

    what he really means is the threat to worship as they please is denying them the right to oppress and denigrate anyone they choose. Their view of religious freedom is to force their religion on everyone else, to insist everyone accord their faith with preferred privileged status, to cause everyone to live by the doctrines of their church. To them it is persecution to not be able to discriminate against those they disagree with. They must be elevated to a higher class because they have the true correct religion and worship that pleases their god. I have fought to be included in the basic rights all people in this country are to have, and never thought I would see it yanked away from me to give someones personal unproven mythology about the supernatural preferred treatment in US laws. Hugs

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Nan: as a counselor, I had to keep rather meticulous records on all kinds of statistics..religious background being one of them. I had significantly more “religious” drug addicts in treatment than secular ones. Barr’s assertion is just absolute crap…as are most of his assertions. The scary thing is that Barr is so damned much SMARTER and sneakier than the cheeto could ever hope to be.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I had significantly more “religious” drug addicts in treatment than secular ones. — Why am I not surprised?

      Yes, Barr is a very scary individual. We simply MUST remove tRumpsky in 2020 … and truly “drain the swamp” of these slimy, vile, loathsome, a-kissing creatures.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Even if “tRumpsky is voted out in Nov. 2020, he will remain Pres until Jan 2021. I shudder to think of the additional damage he will do to America, given that length of time. For the good of the country (not to mention, the world), he must be impeached and removed from office ASAP. Unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath that that will happen.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Point well taken.

          Once he knows he’s been voted out, he’ll no doubt go on a rampage and slither in every loathsome beast he can before he has to leave.

          We may have to give praying a temporary reprieve to ensure the impeachment process goes through! 😁

          Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m happy to identify as a “militant secularist” per the definitions you cited. The intrusion of religion into government and education is a huge threat and justifies a belligerent and aggressive response. It’s one of the main reasons I started blogging.

    Moreover, I happen to believe we do need social mores — just not those based on religious standards.

    I distinguish between actual morality, which seems to be largely inborn in people, and religious taboos, which are arbitrary and vary in a largely random way from one religion to another. The claim that secularism undermines morality depends on confusing the two. Societies like Japan, Britain, and Scandinavia, where religion is almost extinct, are among the most moral in the world in the sense that they have the lowest levels of violence and corruption.

    (I disagree. Most secularists just don’t want to join in that worship.)

    It is all about cultural dominance with these people. Christians have held cultural dominance from the fourth century CE until very recently. After all that time, it seems natural to them, and any effort by the rest of us to get their book off our necks registers as an impudent rebellion against the natural order of things.

    If Barr specifically used the term “worship” (a right which everyone knows is not being challenged), it just indicates that he’s not very good at speaking in code. The normal term used here is not “worship” but “religious liberty”, which is understood as their “right” to force everyone else to conform to their taboo system.

    Barr also believes secularists are to blame for drug abuse, violence, and mental illness.

    Then he has to explain why such problems are more pervasive in more-religious countries and less so in more secular ones — and the same pattern is visible in more-religious vs. more-secular states within the US.

    While it’s a given he will attempt to work his personal beliefs and standards into his position of Attorney General, based on the description for his office, he should remain neutral

    This isn’t an administration. It’s a gang assembled by Trump with the aim of remaining in power. Since Evangelicals are Trump’s main base of supporters, he chooses at least some of his officials specifically to pander to that group. This is not any more complicated than that.

    I am utterly sick to death of these smug, arrogant assholes constantly claiming the moral high ground and claiming to be persecuted, after all the damage they’ve done.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. It is the prerogative of Republicans to define the motivations and moral grounding of anyone not in the club, cult, click, clan, cell….. sorry, couldn’t help myself. It’s the only way to prop up their religious/political agenda. Straw man the proverbial other.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “…Roman Catholic theologian described Barr’s speech as a “dog whistle” to those who have aligned themselves to Donald Trump in a campaign to limit the rights…”

    I wonder what is it, that unites all the conservative, right-wing, religious extremists, “immigration critical” and even openly fascist and neo-nazies all over the western countries, to use this “dog whistle” rhetoric. Do they think they are actually hiding their agenda from the rest of us, because they themselves and their supporters can barely understand what they are referring to? If they think they have the moral high ground why are they so ashamed of it, that they try to hide it in between the lines? I do not get it.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I agree, that those are their motives. However, i still wonder why this specific method? It is stupid, but effective, manipulative and immoral. Why is it, that often the same people who tell us they want to defend “traditional values” also use these questionable methods? What is the causation for such a correlation? Is it, that the reason for a person to hold dear some view only because it is “traditional” stems from the same misunderstanding of reality, that they do not have tools to evaluate what is good and proper, so they have to rely on the values of previous generations? That they have no tools to recognize the immorality of “dog whistle” -type of rethoric? To recognize the potential for social harm it may cause?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I believe most such people are lazy and/or shallow thinkers who, for whatever reason, don’t have the ‘want-to’ and/or the capacity to rise above their moral and intellectual self-satisfaction. I suppose that’s just a long-winded way of saying, they are what they are.

          Like

  6. Excellent piece Nan. Thanks for including the job description for the AG. It’s definitely worthwhile to note that religion is nowhere…anywhere in that description. But also, for this AG, and this AG only, the description needs to say one more thing: Loyal to and subservient to one man: Donald J. Trump. The Constitution? Not so much.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you! 🙂

      Yes, I thought including the job description was the final touch. Besides being educational for many readers (me included), it very vividly illustrates what an impostor we have currently serving in that role.

      And yes, I agree with your added description … very apropos.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Just watched today on Netflix, The Family….it is a real documentary…not fiction. It will scare you. I recommend it.

    There are very powerful white men who claim to be Christian, that make up this group and they are dangerous to democracy and freedom. I’m sure Barr and Pompeo are among the members or “friends” as they call them. This Family uses other religious leaders and politicians, especially wealthy ones, who in turn simply use trump and he and the likeminded evangelical preachers in turn, uses his ignorant base. Power is the name of the game at all costs and they play to win. They looked at people like Hitler and the Mafia to learn how they achieved total control and loyalty from their people….some very nasty evil people out there.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The only ones threatening to take away religious freedoms are the republicans, using that to scare their own supporters. Fear is the weapon of those who cannot defend themselves. PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN FEAR SHOULD LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES, so they can see all the threats coming their way. There won’t be much to see, except themselves…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow! Now I know why Barr is such an asshole. He’s a religious moron. He doesn’t care about the constitution, he cares about pushing Christianity on us all.

    To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, militant Islamists blow themselves up, militant Christians shoot abortion clinics, but apparently you’re a militant atheist if you write a book.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Reblogged this on Atheist Militants Rising and commented:
    Christian morals? The same Christian morals that said it was ok to own people as slaves? Or to commit acts of mass genocide and slaughter? Including the worst case of mass genocide/extermination in recorded human history against us Native Americans?

    And hundreds of thousands of Christian priests and pastors have been busted for raping kids. So much for Christian morals when even their leaders? Can’t act morally.

    Like

  11. Christian morality? Really? Christian morality said it was ok to own people as slaves. Christian morality said it was ok to commit mass genocides, mass slaughters, and mass Inqusitional tortures. Christian morality said it was perfectly ok to wipe out millions upon millions of us Native Americans in North, Central and South America. Christian morality said it was perfectly ok to commit mass genocides in Bosnia, Somolia. Christian morality says in some countries like Uganda? That it is ok to put to brutal deaths those they declare as witches, albino people, lgbts and atheists.

    And Christian morality seems to say with hundreds of thousands of Christian priests and pastors from ALL the denominations that it is ok to rape children, protect the pedophiles and attack the victims. And also hide behind the statute of limitations laws and sovereign immunity laws to get away with their crimes.

    https://atheistmilitantsrising.home.blog/2020/02/22/pedophilia-is-rampant-in-the-christian-religion/

    Like

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