Conservative columnist pulverizes Bill Barr’s bleak vision of secular America

Conservative columnist pulverizes Bill Barr’s bleak vision of secular America
William Barr image by U.S. Department of Justice

In his column for the Washington Post this Wednesday, Max Boot hones in on Attorney General Bill Barr’s infamous speech at Notre Dame last year where he posited that secular people are fueling societal ills like violence and drug abuse. According to Boot, Barr’s “tendentious reading of U.S. history ignores reality.”


“By most metrics, the country is far better off than when Barr was a boy,” Boot writes. “He was born in 1950, when segregation was legal and homosexuality was not.”

Barr’s contention that secularism is eating away at the moral fabric of the country is not based on evidence, writes Boot. Citing data on 10 countries with the highest percentage of religious people versus 10 countries with the lowest percentage, he points out that it seems the less religious countries are better off.

“The homicide rate is five times lower. Life expectancy is 22 percent higher, and infant mortality is 1,000 percent lower — in part because the least religious nations spend 50 percent more per capita on health care,” he writes. “The least religious countries are also better educated, with a mean 12 years of schooling per capita vs. 7½ years in the most religious countries. Income inequality is 24 percent lower in the least religious countries, and gender inequality (as measured by the World Bank) is more than 400 percent lower. Finally, the least religious countries are freer, with an average score of 87.6 from Freedom House, compared to 56.5 for the most religious countries.”

Ultimately, the evidence is not on Barr’s side, according to Boot. “If anything, the evidence suggests that too much religion is bad for a country.”

Read his full op-ed over at The Washington Post.

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