Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 7, 2023

A Sermon On The Law: The Jurisprudence Of Love

Jeffrey R. Baker (Pepperdine), A Sermon on the Law: The Jurisprudence of Love, 15 Wash. U. Juris. Rev. 109 (2023):

Wash U Juris RevThis essay, in the form of a sermon to lawyers and lawmakers, articulates a liberating, progressive, theological jurisprudence of love. This jurisprudence seeks the empowerment of all people and advances a strong policy preference for the poor and disenfranchised. Rooted in scripture, this critical rule measures law and policy in the United States against fundamental human dignity. This is an ancient, radical message for contemporary law and policy. This theory of love is a critique of reactionary, right-wing fundamentalism. It condemns emerging Christian nationalism, affirms inclusive democracy, provides a systemic assessment for policy and politics, and marks a path toward beloved community. Drawing on doctrines that have underpinned movements for abolition, universal suffrage, peace, and civil rights, the homiletic form quickens a positive, normative jurisprudence with accessible rhetoric that avoids partisan, academic shibboleths.

Relying on Black and Latin American liberation theologies; feminist, indigenous, and Asian theologies; natural law jurisprudence; critical theories; and Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, and Orthodox sources, the essay aims to reconcile antagonists with a compelling, universal commitment to restoration and justice by tracing the imperative legal and policy implications of love.

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