On Monday, December 14th, 2020, President Trump announced that Attorney General William P. Barr would be leaving his position as Attorney General. Despite recent disagreements regarding the outcome of the presidential election, in his resignation letter Barr lauded the president for his “unprecedented achievements…in the face of relentless implacable resistance.”
Attorney General Barr worked closely with the White House to carry out President Trump’s agenda. He has been a loyal ally of the Religious Right, supporting efforts to redefine religious freedom as a protection limited to one sectarian point of view. Under his leadership, the Department of Justice supported efforts to direct taxpayer dollars to private religious schools. It ensured faith-based organizations could discriminate in the name of religion while still receiving federal funds. It backed houses of worship acting in defiance of public health guidelines designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In a most striking abuse of power, Attorney General Barr ordered police to forcibly remove peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square so the president could pose with a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. The stunt signaled that the Trump administration was willing to use force to pander to the Religious Right.
At his departure, we are reminded that our institutions depend on the moral fortitude of those who occupy them. As the next administration prepares to take office, President-elect Biden must name an attorney general who will serve the people – not a partisan agenda.
Interfaith Alliance joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights along with 80 other groups in urging President-elect Biden to name an attorney general committed to advancing justice for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. We invite you to read the full letter here.