Wednesday, September 13, 2017
"The Nation's Premier Christian Law School"?
I see that our good friends at Pepperdine have started to market themselves as "The Nation's Premier Christian Law School." I certainly agree that Pepperdine is an excellent institution that does a very good job of engaging and meaningfully embracing its Christian character. I hope, though, that they have not fallen into the old error -- and, knowing so many at Pepperdine, I have to believe they have not -- of excluding Catholics (and, more specifically, certain outstanding Catholic law schools) from their definition and understanding of "Christian"! Remember, Evangelicals and Catholics Together (on law)!
UPDATE: Although (as I hope is clear!) I intended this post as a gentle and affectionate bit of teasing, and not a critique, I should add that in various other places and communications of Pepperdine's it is said that the institution "aspires" or has "aspirations" to be the Nation's Premier Christian Law School. And, Dean Paul Caron has stated:
Since my first day, I have loved working towards our shared goal to become the nation's premier Christian law school by combining academic and research excellence with a deep-rooted commitment to our Christian mission that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Such aspirations are, of course, entirely appropriate and to be celebrated. Those of us who teach at the Nation's Premier Christian Law School welcome the competition! =-) (I kid, I kid.)
UPDATE: Dean Caron has written a gracious follow-up post which sets everything straight and kindly concludes:
I am of course a huge fan of Notre Dame and the other great Christian law schools, and of the fine faculties at those schools. None of us at Pepperdine would in any way ever intimate that Notre Dame or other Catholic law schools should not be considered Christian law schools. Indeed, we have a large number of Catholics on our faculty (in addition to Jewish, Muslim, ans Sikh faculty). Like Rick, we believe we are all "fellow laborers in the vineyard."