Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

FFRF foe charged in Capitol attack

Vol. 38 No. 03 April 2021
Eric Barber of Parkersburg, W.Va., is alleged to have participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.                                                                                                         

Christian Nationalist Eric Barber, a former member of the City Council in Parkersburg, W.Va., has been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. FFRF, which is suing the Parkersburg City Council, had called in early January for an investigation of his role in the assault.

Barber was charged March 3 with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct and theft, and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

“If you were to be convicted of any of these charges, you would be exposed to years in prison,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley told him during an initial hearing out of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Until recently, Barber was a member of the council that FFRF and local plaintiffs are suing over its practice of beginning governmental meetings with an unconstitutional recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, which derives from the New Testament.

Due to his aggressive conduct, FFRF had singled Barber out in reporting on developments in our litigation: “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.

Barber’s behavior at the City Council meetings seems to have been true to type. Disturbing video footage shows Barber in a military-style helmet during the attacks.

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 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 see just how dangerous some of these Christian Nationalists really are.”

The FBI had received several tips identifying Barber’s presence at the Capitol. CCTV footage from U.S. Capitol Police shows Barber moving through the Capitol, taking selfie photographs in the rotunda and searching through C-SPAN equipment at a media station in Statuary Hall, where he allegedly unplugged a portable power station and stole it.