Yet another official involved in a lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation for entangling government with religion appears to have participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
FFRF, a national state/church watchdog, is calling for an investigation of Eric Barber, who until recently was a member of the City Council in Parkersburg, W.Va. FFRF and local plaintiffs are suing the council over its practice of beginning governmental meetings with an unconstitutional recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, which derives from the New Testament.
Local residents believe they have spotted Barber in photos and videos showing him outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Barber also posted photos of doors being breached just a few feet away from where insurrectionists were entering.
FFRF had singled Barber out in reporting on developments in our litigation because of his aggressive conduct:
“At least one member of the City Council has been openly hostile to nonparticipants, the lawsuit charges. Councilman Eric Barber glared at attendees who sat during the prayer at a meeting. At the end of that prayer, Barber positioned himself near his microphone, pressed the button, and shouted, ‘Amen.’”
FFRF had highlighted video of his behavior at one of the council meetings.
Local individuals have reported Barber to the FBI. The local Wood County Indivisible group has posted videos that appear to show Barber in a military-style helmet during the attacks. The group has also transcribed what appear to be his remarks while in the Capitol, including this statement about the police: “They’re giving us the building?”
Another Christian Nationalist in West Virginia who seems to be involved in the insurrection is state Sen. Mike Azinger, who has been open about his attendance and wish that Trump will call protesters back to D.C. FFRF had condemned a school bible bill that Azinger sponsored in the state Senatesponsored in the state Senate.
“We know from personal experience that Christian Nationalists at all levels of our government pose a grave threat to individual liberties and our secular form of government,” comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Now we know just how dangerous some of these Christian Nationalists are.”
This is the second public official FFRF has legally tussled with who appeared to be present at the sacking of the Capitol. FFRF had also chided then Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley for crossing the constitutional line, before he became a U.S. senator and was seen holding his fist up in support of the protesters before the mob invaded on Jan. 6.
Photo Caption: Eric Barber of Parkersburg, W.Va., is alleged to have participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.