Tailgating at a Notre Dame football game is not usually newsworthy. What was notable, however, was Attorney General William Barr’s pre-game bagpipe serenading of fans before the Notre Dame vs. University of Southern California last Saturday. Incidentally, it was AG Barr’s second performance at ND, the first being his speech at the University of Notre Dame law school on 11 October.
AG William Barr (from the WSJ Notable & Quotable):
In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct become so high that society ultimately recoils. . . . But today—in the face of all the increasing pathologies—instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the state in the role of alleviator of bad consequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility. . . .
Interestingly, this idea of the State as the alleviator of bad consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society. It can be called the system of “macro-morality.” It is in some ways an inversion of Christian morality.
Christianity teaches a micro-morality. We transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation.
The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by [one’s] private conduct, but rather on [one’s] commitment to political causes and collective action to address social problems. . . .
Something happened recently that crystallized the difference between these moral systems. I was attending Mass at a parish I did not usually go to in Washington, D.C. At the end of Mass, the chairman of the Social Justice Committee got up to give his report to the parish. He pointed to the growing homeless problem in D.C. and explained that more mobile soup kitchens were needed to feed them. This being a Catholic church, I expected him to call for volunteers to go out and provide this need. Instead, he recounted all the visits that the committee had made to the D.C. government to lobby for higher taxes and more spending to fund mobile soup kitchen. . . .
We have seen the law used aggressively to force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith. . . . This reminds me of how some Roman emperors could not leave their loyal Christian subjects in peace but would mandate that they violate their conscience by offering religious sacrifice to the emperor as a God. . . .
Militant secularists today do not have a live-and-let-live spirit—they are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead they seem to take a delight in compelling people to violate their conscience. . . . Thus, for example, New Jersey, recently passed a law requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching. . . . And the Orange County Board of Education in California issued an opinion that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”