Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A new "conservative" Christian law school

The universe of Christian law schools is apparently set to expand, thanks to the folks at Louisiana College, who are reportedly set to announce the opening of a law school in Shreveport that "will have a 'biblical worldview' . . . to train future lawyers to defend conservative Christian values in courtrooms and politics."  It would be nice, I think, for the school's founders to acknowledge that a biblical worldview might not always call lawyers to "defend conservative Christian values," but might sometimes call them to "advocate for culturally transformative and difficult-to-pin-down-on-the-American-political-spectrum Christian values."  Not as catchy, I realize.


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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I agree that values which might be described as merely "conservative" may or may not correspond with a biblical worldview. Generally speaking, however, "socially conservative" or "conservative Christian" is often--even if imprecisely--used to describe a subset of values within conservativism relating to religious and family morality and religious freedom, as distinct from economic conservatism or foreign policy conservatism. It is hard for me to think of any issues promoted under the banner of social conservatives or Christian conservatives that do not, in the firm view of their advocates, call lawyers to defend them as a matter of their biblical worldview. A ("liberal") Christian might disagree whether, for example, the biblical worldview calls for public protection of unborn children or the definition of marriage as one man and one woman. But that is a sustantive objection, different than the one I think you are suggesting here that the Bible doesn't line up with conservativism writ large (which the social or Christian conservative might fully agree upon).

Posted by: Matt Bowman | Aug 11, 2010 1:52:47 PM

Matt: to make my point more explicit, I'm not talking about different positions on the abortion/family issues, but about the fact that a biblical worldview can inform a Christian lawyer's work on issues beyond abortion/family, and on those issues (e.g., immigration, economic empowerment, environmental stewardship), the lawyers may not line up very well with the label "conservative."

Posted by: rob vischer | Aug 11, 2010 2:07:36 PM

Well, yes I think we are basically in agreement. It's one thing to say that a biblical worldview also informs those other issues not necessarily conservative (social/Christian conservative or otherwise). It's another to say a biblical worldview might NOT always call a lawyer to support values that we find in the specifically social conservative category.

Posted by: Matt Bowman | Aug 11, 2010 2:17:04 PM

I think the emphasis on Christian law schools may be overdone. What is needed more than ever, are new Christian, especially Catholic medical schools. While lawyers are needed to fight for life, more so do we need docs and other medical professionals (nurses, etc) that favor a culture of life. And while it is important to focus on law, we Christians must focus on the competence to heal. After all it is in this area, medicine, that the world owes Christianity a debt of gratitude.

Posted by: CK | Aug 11, 2010 4:13:55 PM

Perhaps you could put it in Haiku form, Rob? Though, somehow, I'm betting that wouldn't quite hit the demographic the school is looking to draw upon.

Posted by: Bryan McGraw | Aug 12, 2010 11:00:23 AM