September 17, 2005

"They have decided that the culture doesn't reflect their values, and so they are going to use a law school to inculcate their values."

The Christian law school.


Menlo Bob said...

Providing substance to the phrase "God save the United States and this Honorable Court".

XWL said...

I am not Christian, the blood of Jesus hasn't washed away any of my sins, (I'm Smithian in this regard my sins are mine, they belong to me) but I don't have any problem with faith based law schools and I don't see any inconsistency so long as they respect the laws as they are currently written, even as they advocate changing those laws.

Noting the source of this article, I think this is a case of pots and kettles accusing each other of having ebon hues.

PBS, or NPR don't occupy a moral high ground with regard to indoctrination.

At least Christian law schools are self selecting and largely self financed whereas PBS/NPR not only suck at the teat of public money but also schedule frequent begathons to browbeat the public into supporting and financing their causes.

That quote when applied to PBS/NPR could easily be:
"They have decided that the PEOPLE don't reflect their values, and so they are going to use MEDIA to inculcate their values"

Personally, I have a larger problem with the seeming anti-evangelical bias of PBS than I do evangelicals mixing their faith with their law instruction.

downtownlad said...

I have major qualms about this. As a gay man, would I stand any chance before a judge that graduated from this school, no matter what the facts of the case were?

I doubt it. The judge would be pretty much think - gay man - God must make me rule against him.

But I guess if you're a straight, Christian - then you wouldn't have anything to worry about.

Robert said...

Downtownlad, the answer to your question would be the same answer faced by any person with any controversial or unpopular viewpoint, characteristic, or attribute - is the judge I am about to go in front of an honest arbiter of the law, or not?

Troy said...

What's the big deal?

Downtownlad... how do you think a Christian feels knowing (or "feeling" to go with the Feinsteinian issue) his judge, who went to Harvard or Yale or hell take your avergae 3rd tier state school is so out of whack with your beliefs as to say "under God" is unConstitutional or that Boy Scouts can't use a public park?

Sucks doesn't it? We all put our "faith" that judges are people of good will who, when they take the oath of office, will actually uphold it. Besides, you can always forum shop.

aidan maconachy said...

I see this discussion from a couple of perspectives.

I agree with leroyw on his point about the financial independence of such institutions helping to take pressure off the public purse - always helpful.

To those who claim to be concerned about the moral and Christian biases inherent in such institutions, I would point out that those values will never be as dominant as the secular humanist values that have been driven by academia and the media to the point where a PC climate reins supreme. It has resulted in an oppressive ethical elitism that places limits on speech and behaviour - less one offend the sensitivities of the various "isms" that have been accorded a status based upon their "distinctiveness" - be it biological, medical or merely cultural.

The result is that this secular bias in our society has forced public expressions of faith into retreat; it has cast aside traditional values and ethics and embraced a society in which porn for example, has virtually been "normalized" without any authority ever bothering to run a referendum on the matter. We have essentially been unwittingly co-opted by a secular heterodoxy.

This offends me on some level, because I was never consulted. Activist groups and "progressive" judges brought about these changes by stealthy increments, and now here we are. There is a very real sense of being suckered.

I am not a practicing Christian, however I am nominal Christian. By that I mean I identify with the civilization that has evolved from an ethos loosely characterized as Christendom. I identify with the symbols and the myths associated with this civilization, and I have no wish to see it reduced to playing servant at the throne of an atheistic and secular culture.

It frankly angers me deeply, that Christian nativity pageants have been banned in predominantly Christian schools and other emblems and symbols of our great civilization, attacked and belittled. This progresses apace while Islam makes inroads into our democracies and shows little inclination to bow, as we have done, to the secular make-over.

I would argue that such institutions certainly do have a right to exist and that their sense of being at odds with our culture as presently constituted is entirely legitimate. A lot of us privately feel the same way.

If, as it seems, Christian organizations and institutions have lost a sense of context, then such satellite endevours will likely become more prevalent in the coming years

Jake said...

They are trying to create lawyers with ethics and values.

An impossible task.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm with Leroy W: as long as they respect the law, I don't see the problem.

Downtownlad, you give away your own prejudices with your post.

vbspurs said...

Some people are Conservative Christians.

And then some people are Christians who are Conservatives. One would find me in the latter category.

And the only thing of note that strikes me about this idea is, "Huh. Cool."

Maybe it resonates with the legal field, but not me. I suppose I view it as a Medical School being Christian/Catholic-based -- a curiosity and nothing more.

If it were a Yeshiva Law School, or a say a Catholic Medical School, I don't think I'd have any the more qualms about it.


vbspurs said...

I doubt it. The judge would be pretty much think - gay man - God must make me rule against him.

Come on, Downtownload. This sounds overly simplistic.

Do you think there are not Conservative Christian judges already on the bench? No Orthodox Jewish judges, whose own moral laws are older, and stricter than ours, such as those based on ritual purification, etc.??

Your remark reminds me of Ann's comment about Judge Roberts when his name was first announced for Justice, when she said, "What does a man like that [referring to being an ex-altar boy] know about the world?".

It was the only miscue I have ever read her write in this blog thus far, because it presupposed so many many things...and some were insulting to people like me.

But hey, Ann. It happens.


vbspurs said...

Finally, here's your gratuitous female catty remark du jour:

Did you get a load of Miss Emily Joy Smith, in the left-hand side of the page?

Dude looks like a lady...

Anonymous said...

To illustrate Victoria's point (Do you think there are not Conservative Christian judges already on the bench?), Judge George Greer of the Terri Schiavo case was in all respects a conservative Christian when he decided the case. He didn't exactly go with what most conservative Christians thought he should have decided.

downtownlad said...

Our Constitution quite clearly states that it is NOT a Christian Document. The establishment clause makes that clear.

So when you have people trying to interpret Christian beliefs into a document that is supposed to treat all religions equally, then basically, they are teaching them to LIE.

How very Christian of them.

And the pledge of allegiance is a perfect example. It is CLEARLY unconstitutional, as it is a violation of the establishment clause.

But, oh, let's not get the Constituion get in the way of forcing our religion down other people's throats.

Why can't you just practice your religion in your Church? Why are you so intent on forcing it on everyone else.

I'm Jewish - and honestly - I've never felt any need to make other people practice my religion.

Christianity must be a really dumb religion if everyone feels so insecure about it, that they feel that they need the government to prop it up.

leeontheroad said...

The Dean says they are "adding something in addition to what you would get in another law school, and that is Christian thinking on the substance of law and Christian thinking on how to practice law."

The latters makes complete sense to me. Institutions of merit are transparent about their mission and goals. And Christian thinking on the practice of anything is what Christians are supposed to talk about. (I think it matters little whether this is in schools or in church groups; I choose the latter.)

But the former "Christian thinking on the substance of the law" is less clearly a public good. The Dean says that it's "in addition to what you get at other law schools." I suppose he means that the offered perspective is in addition to teaching the the law as it is written, which is surely what public institutions purport to do. But I would argue that offering but one perspective of anything is narrow, transparent activism and, therefore, suspect.

I recognize that a) it's a private instituion; and b) many folks see it as a counter to instutions of supposed liberal humanist indoctrination. But the bulk of these comments sound as though folks are agreeing that in principle schools should be lauded for offering one perspective on the substance of the law.

I'm not going to rush onto that bandwagon.

vbspurs said...

Christianity must be a really dumb religion if everyone feels so insecure about it, that they feel that they need the government to prop it up.

If I had prejudices against gays, that you have against Christians, I'd be called a bigot.

And rightly so.


PatCA said...

Beware of arguments that state an assumption that begins with CLEARLY. Most people would argue that the pledge does not CLEARLY violate the establishment clause, but we shall see soon what the Supreme Court says. What you are arguing for yourself is unconstitutional: a privileged status due to the fact that you are gay and non-christian.

As for the main issue, I agree with Leroy. A friend who just started law school has learned in Con Law that we have no right to bear arms and all women have a right to abortion on demand. Those are, however, mere opinions, and in a free society it was only a matter of time before a conservative law school emerged. And so it goes. It's healthy.

josil said...

i find it difficult to understand a reading of the constitution which plainly forbids the establishment of a public religion but would require the establishment of atheism or agnosticism...which are obviously special views of the divine. the fact that the majority of citizens have adopted some form of christianity disturbs me (as a non-christian) not at all. now if the majority were muslim, then we'd be in trouble. while that's not PC, it's as plain as day.

Bruce Hayden said...

Overall, it is hard to believe that you could find a more politicially correct organization today than the average law school.

I suspect that there are plenty of Con Law profs (presumably like Ann) who would teach both sides of the 2nd Amdt. debate. But there are plenty who give the individual rights position short shrift. And ditto with abortion. I was interested to discover years later that my Con Law prof was quite liberal on these subjects - but we luckily didn't get this in class. But many these days only get the one side.

Add to this the hiring. A friend of mine has been on a faculty selection committee, and his complaint is that if you are "white bread", i.e. white male, you have a significantly lower chance at being hired at a law school as opposed to almost anything else. He esp. condemned one hire, when one woman was hired, with almost no credentials, because she was the lesbian partner of another prof.

What is interesting to me is that Ann now days is sometimes referred to as a conservative law prof. Would I call her conservative? No. Rather, one of the few real moderates around. But she made the mistake of going off the reservation and voting for Mr. Bush this time, and is now considered a conservative law prof by many because of it.

My point is that legal academia is quite liberal today, and we need a counterweight. This law school may do a little in that direction - but very little.