Former Attorney General Bill Barr criticized what he described as the public schools’ changes in ideology and questioned the constitutionality of funding such public institutions during a speech earlier this month.
The story: Barr made the comments at the Council for National Policy’s annual gathering, where he received an award from the Alliance Defending Freedom.
He criticized what he described as the separation of religion and education in public schools in the U.S. and warned about the long-term effect on religious freedom should schools continue to push what he said was a “radical ideology.”
What he said: “Over the past 12 months, there’s been a great deal of discussion about the radical ideology being promoted in our schools, and what it means for national unity. Much less has been said on the issue of what it means, what the long-term consequences are for religious freedom,” Barr said.
The former attorney general said this issue is “the greatest threat that religious liberty faces today” and lamented that public schools have become “totally incompatible” with major religions in the U.S.
“We’re rapidly approaching the point—if we have not already reached the point—at which 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, I think we have to 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,” Barr continued.
He also spoke about how education and religion co-existed in the past and why their relationship is important.
“Education and religion were combined, they were integral to one another. Education started off as a religious project. They’re inherently bound together and I think the whole idea of being able to separate them is actually a fallacy because education is more than just balancing your checkbook or vocational training, it’s really about at the end of the day, it’s really about the big questions,” he said.
“We’re now seeing an affirmative indoctrination with a secular belief system and worldview, that is a substitute for religion, and is antithetical to the beliefs and values of traditional God-centered religion. In other words, purging schools of any trace of religion created a vacuum and we are now seeing a substitute system, an explanatory system as a substitute being affirmatively interjected into public education, and it is subversive of the religious worldview,” Barr explained.
Barr gave two examples. He pointed to a week of Black Lives Matter curricula at an Iowa school whose goal was to “promote focusing on our Black students,” according to the former attorney general. He also cited school materials that gave children the option to choose whether they are male, female, or neither.
“This is not established science,” Barr argued, but “moral, psychological, metaphysical dogma of the new orthodoxy.”
At one point, he suggested, “it may no longer be fair, practical or even constitutional to provide publicly funded education solely through the vehicle of state-funded schools.”
You can watch the full speech here:
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