Former White House ethics chief accuses Bill Barr of religious extremism

The former White House ethics chief Richard W. Painter came forward last week and accused Attorney General Bill Barr of being the “most dangerous” Attorney General in US history. 

The ethics lawyer, who served in the George W. Bush administration, shared a blistering NYT op-ed on Twitter that excoriated Barr for attempting to promote “religious nationalism.”

The accusations of zealotry began to surface after an October speech at Notre Dame Law School in which Barr concluded that “we must be vigilant to resist efforts by the forces of secularization to drive religious viewpoints from the public square and to impinge upon the free exercise of our faith.”

Painter took issue with Barr’s statements on religious liberty and said that “Dominionist Attorney General Bill Barr in October attacked “militant secularists” in an official speech before adoring crowds at @NDlaw. In 2020 he plans to put his plans into action. Barr is the most dangerous Attorney General in U.S. history.”

Authors Katherine Stewart and Caroline Fredrickson questioned Barr’s motives in the op-ed, remarking that “Mr. Barr has embraced wholesale the ‘religious liberty’ rhetoric of today’s Christian nationalist movement. When religious nationalists invoke ‘religious freedom,’ it is typically code for religious privilege.”

Painter went on to stump for Democratic congressional candidate and Notre Dame Law Professor Pat Hackett, who also publically spoke out against Bill Barr after the October speech.

Painter tweeted “Meet @HackettCongress the only faculty member at @NDLaw to publicly condemn Attorney General Barr’s dominionist rant last October. Now it’s our turn to support Pat’s bid for Congress!”

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