For Attorney General Bill Barr, the U.S. is beset by problems: non-believers, as well as liberals who believe in a “collectivist agenda.”
Barr made the comments at the NRB Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday.
“Politics is everywhere. It’s omnipresent. Why is that?” Barr asked the audience.
The answer, he continued, was a political landscape dominated by conflict and strife between two incompatible visions of the country: limited government and a broader view of the state that clamps down on liberty by forcing a “collectivist agenda” on individuals.
AG Barr, speaking to NRB Christian Media Convention: "Politics is everywhere. It’s omnipresent. Why is that?" He says it results from conflict between 2 views: (1) limited govt that preserves liberty (2) govt that submerges individual in "collectivist agenda"
— Matt Zapotosky (@mattzap) February 26, 2020
The nation’s chief law enforcement officer went on to address religion, bemoaning how faith has been removed from the public discourse over the past few decades.
He told the crowd that separation of Church and State, while advisable, “does not require that we drive religion from the public square and affirmatively use government power to promote a culture of disbelief.”
Religion, Barr argued, limits government “by cultivating internal moral values in the people,” as opposed to “utopian” and hubristic secular programs.
Barr gave the speech after facing a tsunami of criticism after the Justice Department’s unprecedented move this month to lighten a sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a friend and former political adviser to President Trump. Barr went on to complain that Trump’s tweets advocating about the case made his job “impossible.”
In his speech Wednesday, Barr also railed against saws familiar to the conservative movement, like the Interstate Commerce Clause.
“I believe that the destruction of federalism is another source of the extreme discontent in our collective political life,” Barr said, adding that “what works in Brooklyn might not be a good fit in Birmingham.”
The attorney general concluded with a swipe at the press, criticizing the modern media for being “massively consolidated” while alleging that “an increasing number of journalists see themselves less as objective reporters of fact and more as agents of change.”
He added that it gives “the press an unprecedented ability to mobilize public opinion,” creating a majority that is “overweening with the press as its ally.”
“I think it’s fair to say that it puts the press’ role as a breakwater for tyranny in jeopardy,” Barr added.
He then addressed his audience: Christian-oriented media outlets, telling them that they added “diversity” to the media landscape; a necessary salve — in the attorney general’s view — to the nation’s ills.