by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“The greatest threat to religious liberty in America today,” said former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr in a recent speech, is “the increasingly militant and extreme secular-progressive climate of our state-run education system.”
Barr, whose high-profile career has demonstrated a deep commitment to the U.S. Constitution as written and intended, spoke to the religious liberty legal defense organization Alliance Defending Freedom. The legal lion put together a strong argument that a half-century of Supreme Court decisions combined with the left’s long march through American institutions have pushed U.S. public schools so far from religious neutrality that many now comprise a government-established preference for the atheist religion. Government preferences for some religious views over others are unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
“The heavy-handed enforcement of secular-progressive orthodoxy through government-run schools is totally incompatible with traditional Christianity and other major religious traditions in our country. In light of this development, we must confront the reality that it may no longer be fair, practical, or even constitutional to provide publicly-funded education solely through the vehicle of state-operated schools,” he said.
While many American adults believe U.S. public schools keep religion out of the classroom, that era ended with their childhoods, Barr says. Too many Americans are dangerously unaware that today’s public schools forcefully instruct children in specific religious and political beliefs that openly undermine Christianity and, therefore, the private self-government necessary to preserve the United States’ foundational natural rights regime. …
… I’ve seen and heard this myself countless times, both politically and religiously, usually when it is too late to do anything. One mother active in conservative politics recently described to me the trend of her friends’ young adult children losing their faith and conservatism in high school as “like an invasion of the body snatchers.”