Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday blamed the rise in "urban violence, drug abuse, and broken families" on "militant secularists" during the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, the The Washington Times reports.
Barr said religion, the "foundation of a free society," has been "under siege by secularists" for 50 years, who want to replace traditional views on morality with "a new orthodoxy that is actively hostile to religion."
He added, "The consequences of this hollowing out of religion have been predictably dire. Over the past 50 years, we have seen striking increases in urban violence, drug abuse, and broken families. Problems like these have fed the rise of an ever more powerful central government."
The attorney general also blamed "militant secularists" for misunderstanding "the separation of church and state," saying they "have long seized on that slogan as a facile justification for attempting to drive religion from the public square and to exclude religious people from bringing a religious perspective to bear from conversations about the common good."
Barr attended the breakfast to receive the organization's Christifideles Laici Award, which is granted "in honor and gratitude for fidelity to the church, exemplary selfless and steadfast service in the Lord's vineyard."
Several groups, including the Association of Catholic Priests, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Faithful America, Red Letter Christians, and the Franciscan Action Network, opposed Barr receiving the honor due to his reinstatement of the federal death penalty and his ordering the use of force against protesters in front of the White House.
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