AG Barr's Religious Liberty Speech

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Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
6,792
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#1
(Wow I highly recommend finding time to read this speech. It is very well informed and shines light on many misunderstandings of how crucial Christianity is.)

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame South Bend, IN

~
Friday, October 11, 2019

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Tom, for your kind introduction. Bill and Roger, it’s great to be with you.

Thank you to the Notre Dame Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture for graciously extending an invitation to address you today. I’d also like to express gratitude to Tony de Nicola, whose generous support has shaped – and continues to shape – countless minds through examination of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition.

Today, I would like to share some thoughts with you about religious liberty in America. It’s an important priority in this Administration and for this Department of Justice.

We have set up a task force within the Department with different components that have equities in this area, including the Solicitor General’s Office, the Civil Division, the Office of Legal Counsel, and other offices. We have regular meetings. We keep an eye out for cases or events around the country where states are misapplying the Establishment Clause in a way that discriminates against people of faith, or cases where states adopt laws that impinge upon the free exercise of religion.

From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States.

The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety. It reflects the Framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.

In his renowned 1785 pamphlet, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” James Madison described religious liberty as “a right towards men” but “a duty towards the Creator,” and a “duty….precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

It has been over 230 years since that small group of colonial lawyers led a revolution and launched what they viewed as a great experiment, establishing a society fundamentally different than those that had gone before.

They crafted a magnificent charter of freedom – the United States Constitution – which provides for limited government, while leaving “the People” broadly at liberty to pursue our lives both as individuals and through free associations.

This quantum leap in liberty has been the mainspring of unprecedented human progress, not only for Americans, but for people around the world.

In the 20th century, our form of free society faced a severe test.

There had always been the question whether a democracy so solicitous of individual freedom could stand up against a regimented totalitarian state.

That question was answered with a resounding “yes” as the United States stood up against and defeated, first fascism, and then communism.

But in the 21st century, we face an entirely different kind of challenge.

The challenge we face is precisely what the Founding Fathers foresaw would be our supreme test as a free society.

They never thought the main danger to the republic came from external foes. The central question was whether, over the long haul, we could handle freedom. The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.

By and large, the Founding generation’s view of human nature was drawn from the classical Christian tradition.

These practical statesmen understood that individuals, while having the potential for great good, also had the capacity for great evil.

Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.

On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles.

Edmund Burke summed up this point in his typically colorful language:

“Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put chains upon their appetites.... Society cannot exist unless a controlling power be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

So the Founders decided to take a gamble. They called it a great experiment.

They would leave “the People” broad liberty, limit the coercive power of the government, and place their trust in self-discipline and the virtue of the American people.

In the words of Madison, “We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves…”

This is really what was meant by “self-government.” It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings.

Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves – freely obeying the dictates of inwardly-possessed and commonly-shared moral values. And to control willful human beings, with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.

In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

As John Adams put it, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

As Father John Courtney Murray observed, the American tenet was not that:

“Free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and that its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.”

How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?

First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

But they also include the guidance of natural law – a real, transcendent moral order which flows from God’s eternal law – the divine wisdom by which the whole of creation is ordered. The eternal law is impressed upon, and reflected in, all created things.

From the nature of things we can, through reason, experience, discern standards of right and wrong that exist independent of human will.

Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.

They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.

By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society. We may not pay the price immediately, but over time the harm is real.

Religion helps promote moral discipline within society. Because man is fallen, we don’t automatically conform ourselves to moral rules even when we know they are good for us.

But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good. It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.

In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.



( View link to read full)

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/...emarks-law-school-and-de-nicola-center-ethics
 

Lightskin

Well-known member
Aug 16, 2019
3,165
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#2
I watched it on YouTube. Excellent speech and extremely refreshing considering the hostile, anti-Christian administration we endured prior to the Trump administration.
 
U

UnderGrace

Guest
#3
I watched it on YouTube. Excellent speech and extremely refreshing considering the hostile, anti-Christian administration we endured prior to the Trump administration.
I find this rather ironic....:rolleyes:

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.
 

Lightskin

Well-known member
Aug 16, 2019
3,165
3,664
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#4
I find this rather ironic....:rolleyes:
That quote is spot on accurate. America lived under soft tyranny with the Kenyan at the helm. It would’ve been all out tyranny if not for the 2nd Amendment. Don’t underestimate that.
 
U

UnderGrace

Guest
#5
That quote is spot on accurate. America lived under soft tyranny with the Kenyan at the helm. It would’ve been all out tyranny if not for the 2nd Amendment. Don’t underestimate that.
The irony is in the author making this statement, not in the actual sentiment he is expressing.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
6,792
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#6
I watched it on YouTube. Excellent speech and extremely refreshing considering the hostile, anti-Christian administration we endured prior to the Trump administration.
Can you find the full video? I heard YouTube pulled it down.
 
Mar 23, 2016
4,535
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#9
Can you find the full video? I heard YouTube pulled it down.
The speech was removed from Notre Dame website once ND received approval to distribute the speech via YouTube.

The University of Notre Dame is not blocking the video of Attorney General Barr's recent remarks on campus. We are waiting permission by the Department of Justice's public affairs office to approve distribution of it via YouTube. Notre Dame Law School and de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture sponsored Attorney General Barr. We were proud to do so. Paul J. Browne Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications University of Notre Dame


 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
6,792
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113
#10
If so they missed this one. ;):D
AG Barr appears at the 8:42 minute mark if you want to avoid the introductions.
Full speech
If I didn't know better I would of thought it was John Adams himself up there lol
 

Whispered

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2019
4,551
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www.christiancourier.com
#11
If I didn't know better I would of thought it was John Adams himself up there lol
I do like his intention to put the record straight. And to speak so openly for America's liberty and future.
I know people say what's transpiring on the Hill under this current president is politics as usual.However, I would disagree in that I can't recall it ever being so brazenly seditious.
HRC should already be serving years behind bars for espionage. Obama should be serving behind bars also for numerous brazen offenses. Including being the one that told his SoS to commit espionage.
And that's just a start.
But those people in power empowered by the vote that keeps them there as career politicians are so sure they're above the law that they act unafraid. And since they lack the morality necessary to make them better than what they currently appear , what's to do? But suffer under a system that would otherwise prosecute you or me for those similar offenses if we were in corporate America yet conspiring with a foreign power, enemy, for personal gain. And then as we're made to make that walk of shame to prison for the rest of our lives some commentator would boast to her viewers, what you're seeing is the law and the justice system in action folks.

While the crooked immoral law makers live high, smile smugly, and know that shall never be said of them.
With regards to Capitol Hill, no more is it the idiom, the inmates are running the asylum!
Rather it now appears for all intents and purposes, the gates of Hell opened on the left side of the Congressional chamber, and demons entered politics there.

Barr's speech was a reminder to wake up and not take what's happening in this country as unworthy of our attention. Stop being indifferent to representative governance.
Sadly, many enjoy their sleep.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
6,792
3,364
113
#12
I do like his intention to put the record straight. And to speak so openly for America's liberty and future.
I know people say what's transpiring on the Hill under this current president is politics as usual.However, I would disagree in that I can't recall it ever being so brazenly seditious.
HRC should already be serving years behind bars for espionage. Obama should be serving behind bars also for numerous brazen offenses. Including being the one that told his SoS to commit espionage.
And that's just a start.
But those people in power empowered by the vote that keeps them there as career politicians are so sure they're above the law that they act unafraid. And since they lack the morality necessary to make them better than what they currently appear , what's to do? But suffer under a system that would otherwise prosecute you or me for those similar offenses if we were in corporate America yet conspiring with a foreign power, enemy, for personal gain. And then as we're made to make that walk of shame to prison for the rest of our lives some commentator would boast to her viewers, what you're seeing is the law and the justice system in action folks.

While the crooked immoral law makers live high, smile smugly, and know that shall never be said of them.
With regards to Capitol Hill, no more is it the idiom, the inmates are running the asylum!
Rather it now appears for all intents and purposes, the gates of Hell opened on the left side of the Congressional chamber, and demons entered politics there.

Barr's speech was a reminder to wake up and not take what's happening in this country as unworthy of our attention. Stop being indifferent to representative governance.
Sadly, many enjoy their sleep.
Enjoying their sleep all the while they are becoming slaves.
 

Whispered

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2019
4,551
2,228
113
www.christiancourier.com
#13
Enjoying their sleep all the while they are becoming slaves.
True.
I like the 2005 movie line in "V for Vendetta" quote, the movie itself loosely based on the English revolutionary Guy Fawkes.
“People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
 

Dude653

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2011
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#14
I watched it. It's a propagandic dumpster fire
 

Dude653

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2011
9,500
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#15
His argument is fallacious
First of all you have religious liberty aa for the Constitution.
What you don't have the right to do this to insinuate said religion into a publicly-funded Institution
Then he makes an erroneous argument that morality comes from religion.
It doesn't