Secularism has become a religion based on freedom from personal responsibility, salvation attained by political activism and severe punishment of disobedience, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr warned Friday in a speech at Notre Dame’s law school.
While the new secular religion has inverted basic Christian morality, it has adopted practices such as inquisitions and excommunication to enforce its doctrine, Barr said:
“One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has, itself, become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It has taken on all the trappings of religion – including inquisitions and excommunication.
“Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake: social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”
A key precept of the secularist religion is that the government is responsible for protecting people from suffering the consequences of personal misconduct and irresponsibility, Barr said:
“Today, in the face of all the increasing pathologies, instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have cast The State in the role of the Alleviator of Bad Consequences. We call on The State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.”
The secularist government attempts to alleviate bad consequences by advancing abortion, enabling drug use and assuming the roles of parent and spouse, Barr said. And, while promising unlimited freedom, the end result of the secularist religion is one of servitude, he warned:
“So, the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.
“The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.
“The solution to the breakdown of the family is for The State to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage.
“And, while we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.
“We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on whom we depend.”
“Interestingly, this idea of The State as the Alleviator of Bad Consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society. It can be called the System of Macro-Morality. And, in some ways, it is an inversion of Christian morality.
“Christianity teaches a Micro-Morality: we transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation. The new secular religion teaches Macro-Morality. Once morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather their commitment to political causes and collective action to address various social problems.
“This system allows us not to worry so much about the strictures on our own private lives, because we can find salvation on the picket line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by participating in demonstrations on this cause or on that.”