Paul L. Caron

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Justice Alito's Keynote Address At Notre Dame's Religious Liberty Summit In Rome

Following up on my previous post, Notre Dame Dean Marcus Cole's Address In Rome On Religious Liberty:  Notre Dame News, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Delivers Keynote Address at 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit in Rome:

The Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative hosted the 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit in Rome last week to highlight that freedom of religion or belief is a global issue.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito — who delivered the keynote address at the Religious Liberty Summit’s gala dinner on Thursday, July 21 — noted that the Roman setting also brought to mind how religious freedom has been challenged and championed throughout history.

“I find myself thinking about the proud civilization that was centered here two millennia ago,” Alito said near the beginning of his remarks.

“As I think back, I also think ahead, and I wonder what historians may say centuries from now about the contribution of the United States to world civilization,” he said. “One thing I hope they will say is that our country, after a lot of fits and starts, and ups and downs, eventually showed the world that it is possible to have a stable and successful society in which people of diverse faiths live and work together harmoniously and productively while still retaining their own beliefs. This has been truly an historic accomplishment.”

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August 14, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Faith, Forgiveness, And Little League Baseball

Following up on my posts on the power of forgiveness (links below):  Deseret News, Think There’s No Crying in Baseball? Then Don’t Watch This Viral Little League Moment:

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August 14, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, August 7, 2022

NY Times: What's God Got To Do With It? The Rise Of Christian Nationalism In American Politics

New York Times, What's God Got to Do With It? The Rise of Christian Nationalism In American Politics:

Mccaulley stewartEsau Macaulley and Katherine Stewart on how the G.O.P weaponized Christianity — and where we go from here

Christian nationalism has been empowered in American politics since the rise of Donald Trump. From “Stop the Steal” to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and now, the overturn of Roe v. Wade — Christian nationalist rhetoric has undergirded it all. But given that a majority of Americans identify as Christian, faith also isn’t going anywhere in our politics. So what would a better relationship between church and state look like?

To discuss, Jane Coaston brings together two people who are at the heart of the Christian nationalism debate. Katherine Stewart is the author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism and has reported on the Christian right for over a decade. Esau McCaulley is a contributing writer for Times Opinion and theologian-in-residence at Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago.

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August 7, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

The Secret Of Vin Scully's Success: Faith

Los Angeles and baseball fans everywhere are mourning the death of Vin Scully at age 94. Vin was the voice of the Dodgers (and Los Angeles) for 67 years. My dear fried and former colleague Bob Cochran sent me this wonderful interview with Vin for my Sunday faith posts: 

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August 7, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Christian University Sues Attorney General, Says Investigation Of Anti-LGBTQ+ Hiring Practices Violates Its Religious Freedom

Inside Higher Education, Seattle Pacific Sues Washington AG:

Seattle Pacific 2Facing a state investigation for discriminatory hiring practices against LGBTQ+ individuals, Seattle Pacific University is going on the offensive, suing Washington attorney general Robert Ferguson.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses Ferguson of violating the Free Methodist Church–affiliated university’s constitutional right “to decide matters of faith and doctrine, to hire employees who share its religious beliefs, and to select and retain ministers free from government interference.”

At the root of the lawsuit is a policy that has long been a source of friction at Seattle Pacific: a prohibition on the hiring of openly gay faculty and staff members, which the president and Board of Trustees have vigorously defended despite opposition from students, employees and alumni. Students have walked out and sat in to protest the policy; the board refuses to budge out of concerns that doing so would end its 130-year membership in the Free Methodist Church. ...

SPU subscribes to the belief that “sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman,” according to its Statement on Human Sexuality. Its policy holds that “employees are expected to refrain from sexual behavior that is inconsistent with the University’s understanding of Biblical standards, including cohabitation, extramarital sexual activity, and same-sex sexual activity.”

In the lawsuit, lawyers for the Christian university accused Washington’s attorney general of “wielding state power to interfere with the religious beliefs of a religious university, and a church, whose beliefs he disagrees with. He is using the powers of his office (and even powers not granted to his office) to pressure and retaliate against Seattle Pacific University.”

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August 7, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Render Unto Caesar: Do We Have A Moral Obligation To Pay Taxes?

Robert F. van Brederode, Render Unto Caesar: Do We Have a Moral Obligation to Pay Tax?:

In this installment of Tax Matters, van Brederode considers whether paying taxes is a moral duty by referring to the famous New Testament passage in which Jesus is asked whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. ...

Today, many take the position that paying your fair share is a moral duty and that tax dodging is antisocial behavior. Jesus’ answer — “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” — is traditionally interpreted to mean an endorsement of paying taxes, which serves contemporary tax enforcers well. ...

The traditional interpretation of the so-called tribute episode makes no sense in the political context of first-century Palestine and given the treacherous purpose of the question. All three synoptic Gospels mention the tribute episode almost verbatim and claim that the question is a trap by the Jewish establishment [Matt. 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, and Luke 20:20-26]. ...

The question was a trap because regardless of Jesus’ answer — yes or no — it could and would have been used against him. If Jesus were to answer that taxes should be paid, he would lose his credibility with his followers by being seen as a collaborator with the Romans, perceived as occupiers by the Jews. If he were to answer that these taxes should not be paid, he would run afoul of the Roman authorities, who could put him to death for inciting sedition. This question, therefore, put Jesus between a rock and a hard place. For the trap to work, his questioners must have known Jesus’ opposition to Roman rule and taxes. This is the Judeo-Roman political aspect of the question.

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August 7, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Forty Democratic Lawmakers Call For IRS Investigation Into Family Research Council's ‘Church’ Status

Following up on my previous post, ProPublica: Family Research Council Is Now A Church In The Eyes Of The IRS:  Washington Post, Democrats Call on IRS to Review Right-Wing Group’s ‘Church’ Status:

FRCCongressional House Democrats are asking the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of a prominent conservative advocacy group recently reclassified as a church, arguing the organization may be exploiting the designation to avoid scrutiny.

Forty Democratic lawmakers, led by U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene (Wash.) and Jared Huffman (Calif.), outlined their concerns about the Family Research Council in a letter sent to the head of the IRS and the secretary of the Treasury on Monday. According to a recent report from ProPublica, the FRC successfully applied to be reclassified as a “group of churches” in 2020.

Lawmakers say that while the FRC often appeals to faith and advocates for a “biblical worldview,” the status change “strains credulity” because the group operates primarily as “a political advocacy organization.”

“They do not hold religious services, do not have a congregation or affiliated congregations, and do not possess many of the other attributes of churches listed by the IRS,” the letter reads. “FRC is one example of an alarming pattern in the last decade — right-wing advocacy groups self-identifying as ‘churches’ and applying for and receiving church status.” ...

Among the letter’s signatories are U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.).

Washington Times, Democratic Lawmakers Demand IRS Probe of Family Research Council’s Tax Status:

The head of the Family Research Council said Tuesday evening that a call by 40 Congressional Democrats for a Treasury Department/IRS investigation of the group’s “association of churches” tax-exempt status was “factually challenged” and asserted the organization isn’t “trying to hide anything” from the public.

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August 7, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Battle Over 'Wokeness' At Christian Colleges Isn't Just About Politics, It's About Dollars

Detroit Free Press, Battle Over 'Wokeness' at Christian Colleges Isn't Just About Politics, It's About Dollars:

Grove City HillsdaleThe latest battle in Christian higher education isn't centered on theological issues, but rather on politics.

For decades, Hillsdale College and Grove City College mirrored each other.

Fiercely independent, neither takes any federal dollars, including government-backed student loans, in order to be exempt from most federal rules.

Located in bucolic settings — Hillsdale in agricultural southern mid-Michigan and Grove City in the hills of western Pennsylvania — one feels smarter simply by stepping on the carefully groomed campuses with spectacular academic buildings, chapels and residence halls. Both have reputations as bastions of conservatism.

But the last two years have started to push the two apart, at least in the minds of their core markets.

Hillsdale, to the delight of conservatives and the consternation of liberals, has continued to burnish its conservative credentials. It has worked closely on education matters with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis  and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

"The college's belief in genuine classical education and its deep admiration for the principles of the American Founding, as espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, has made it a target for those who oppose such challenges to the status quo of what is now taught in most American institutions of higher education," Hillsdale spokeswoman Emily Davis told the Free Press, adding that Hillsdale wants all students, not just those in Michigan, to have a quality education. "Hillsdale College has been dedicated to pursuing truth and defending liberty since 1844 and has no plans of retreating from that noble effort."

And while Hillsdale alumni, students and faculty have been supportive of the college, alumni, students and faculty at Grove City have been engaged in all-out-war  over whether it is woke.

The two schools represent the newest battle in Christian higher education, one that isn't centered on theological issues such as creationism or who is God, but rather on whether Donald Trump won the last election or whether Black people are still targeted by systematic racism in America. It's about politics brought to campus, witnessed by students who arrive as self-styled culture warriors, armed with smartphones and social media.

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July 31, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ Op-Ed: Religion Is Dying? Don’t Believe It

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  Religion Is Dying? Don’t Believe It, by Byron R. Johnson (Baylor; Pepperdine; Google Scholar) & Jeff Levin (Baylor):

Baylor ISRReports of religion’s decline in America have been exaggerated. You’ve heard the story: Churchgoers are dwindling in number while “Nones”—those who tell pollsters they have no religious affiliation—are multiplying as people abandon their faith and join the ranks of atheists and agnostics. Headlines declare that the U.S. is secularizing along the lines of Europe. From Britain’s Daily Mail in 2013: “Religion could disappear by 2041 because people will have replaced God with possessions, claims leading psychologist.”

These conclusions are based on analyses that are so flawed as to be close to worthless. In a new study with our colleagues Matt Bradshaw and Rodney Stark, we seek to set the record straight [Are Religious “Nones” Really Not Religious?: Revisiting Glenn, Three Decades Later, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Vol. 18, Art. 7 (2022)].

Data from five recent U.S. population surveys point to the vibrancy, ubiquity and growth of religion in the U.S. Americans are becoming more religious, and religious institutions are thriving. Consistent with some previous studies but contrary to widely held assumptions, many people who report no religious affiliation—and even many self-identified atheists and agnostics—exhibit substantial levels of religious practice and belief. ...

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July 31, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

LA Times: Jews, Muslims And Others Say Roe vs. Wade Reversal Threatens Their Religious Freedom

Following up on my previous post, Does Religious Freedom Protect A Right To An Abortion?:  Los Angeles Times, Jews, Muslims and Others Say Roe vs. Wade Reversal Threatens Their Religious Freedom:

L.A. TimesFor 25 years Rabbi Barry Silver has served as the spiritual leader of L’Dor Va-Dor, a progressive synagogue in Boynton Beach, Fla. Like most congregational rabbis, he offers a Jewish perspective on major life events, giving weekly sermons, performing weddings, funerals and baby namings, and occasionally counseling congregants wrestling with whether to have an abortion.

Silver tells his congregation that contrary to Roman Catholic and evangelical teachings, which state that life begins at conception, traditional Jewish law, known as Halakha, says life begins at birth: when the baby draws its first breath. Before then, the mother’s physical and emotional well-being is paramount.

In some extreme cases — such as when the mother’s life is at stake — an abortion is not just permitted by Jewish law, but required.

“Right in the beginning of the Torah, Genesis states that God formed the human, Adam, from the dust of the Earth, like you create a work of pottery. Then he breathed the breath of life in him and he lived,” Silver said. “We equate breathing with living.”

For decades, antiabortion Catholic and evangelical Christian perspectives have dominated the religious conversation around abortion. But people of faith hold a variety of views on the issue, rooted in their own traditions, teachings and laws.

Muslim teachings hold that the soul is breathed into a fetus 120 days after conception, and other religious groups — Unitarians, the Oklevueha Native American Church, and the Satanic Temple (a global organization that is headquartered in Salem, Mass., and that, despite its name, doesn’t actually worship the Prince of Darkness) — considerreproductive choice and bodily autonomy to be sacred.  ...

Silver, a progressive activist who also works as a civil rights attorney, made headlines this month after he filed a religious liberty lawsuit challenging a Florida law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. He said the ban makes abortion unlawful even in situations in which it’s mandated by Jewish law. Silver is the first religious leader to file such a suit; legal experts say that after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision overturning Roe vs. Wade, he won’t be the last. ...

Jews in particular are waking up to what abortion restrictions at the state level could mean for their religious freedom. ...

Michael Helfand, a professor at Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law, says Jews are well positioned to argue that abortion restrictions violate an individual’s religious liberties, especially in states where so-called religious freedom restoration laws provide heightened protections for religious exercise. ...

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July 31, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, July 24, 2022

David French: The God Gap Helps Explain A 'Seismic Shift' In American Politics

David French (The Dispatch), The God Gap Helps Explain a 'Seismic Shift' in American Politics:

There’s talk of realignment in the air. If you think all the way back to 2012, you might remember a certain phrase—the coalition of the ascendant. This was the Obama coalition, the collection of all of America’s growing demographics, from nonwhite voters to single women. The Romney voters, by contrast, were fading. White, Christian, and married, they were the demographic losers in a population that was becoming both more diverse and more secular. Democratic dominance was inevitable. ...

Optimistic Democrats didn’t see Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 so much as a refutation of the coalition of the ascendant theory as a quirk of the electoral college and a reminder that Hillary Clinton wasn’t Barack Obama. The nation wasn’t quite majority-minority yet, and thus that the white majority could still win races when identity politics reign supreme.

But 2020 told a different tale. The Democrats got whiter, the Republicans got more diverse, and now all the assumptions are scrambled. Donald Trump lost the popular vote by a far wider margin than he did in 2016, but he did materially better with Hispanic, Asian, and black voters. In fact, Trump did better than Romney with nonwhite voters in 2016 (an improvement then mainly attributed to Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses), and he improved on that showing in 2020. What was once seen as an aberration now looks like a trend.

The trend continues. Last week Axios’s Josh Kraushaar described an ongoing “seismic shift” in the two parties’ coalitions. As outlined in a New York Times/Siena College poll, “Democrats now have a bigger advantage with white college graduates than they do with nonwhite voters.” The Democratic Party’s losses with Hispanics are remarkable. Whereas Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012, and Biden won 65 percent in 2020, now the Hispanic vote is “statistically tied.”

Moreover, there are good reasons to believe that Hispanic voters will continue to migrate to the GOP. As Ruy Teixeira described this week on his Substack, comprehensive issue polling from Echelon Insights demonstrates that strong progressives have substantially different political and cultural views from Hispanics.

Hispanic voters are far more likely to believe that America is “the greatest country in the world,” far less likely to support defunding the police, far less likely to believe “racism is built into our society,” and far less likely to believe that transgender athletes should play on sports teams that match their current gender identity. In most cases, the polling gap is just immense.

What accounts for such monumental differences in beliefs in values? As my colleague Jonah Goldberg often (and rightly) says, we should reject monocausal explanations for complex social phenomena, but here’s a factor that simply isn’t discussed enough. The Democratic Party has a huge “God gap,” and that God gap is driving a wedge between its white and nonwhite voters.

Let’s look at the data. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey on American religious beliefs provides us with a picture that’s worth a thousand words:


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July 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Notre Dame Dean Marcus Cole's Address In Rome On Religious Liberty

Notre Dame News, Dean G. Marcus Cole’s Welcome Address at the 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit in Rome:

Good morning! I am Marcus Cole, Dean of Notre Dame Law School, and Founder of the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Initiative. On behalf of myself and our Faculty Director, Professor Stephanie Barclay, our interim Faculty Co-Directors Professor Nicole Garnett and Professor Rick Garnett, Senior Supervising Attorney John Meiser, and the entire legal and administrative staff of the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Initiative, it is my distinct honor and privilege to welcome you to the Second Annual Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit, highlighted by the presentation of the Notre Dame Prize for Religious Liberty.

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July 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Confessions Of A Catholic Litigator

David A. Shaneyfelt (Alvarez Firm, Calabasas, CA), Confessions of a Catholic Litigator, 17 U. St. Thomas L.J. 111 (2020):

I imagine there are Navy Seals whose consciences prick them when they swim aboard an enemy’s base in the dead of night, slit the throats of guards on duty, retrieve a hostage, gun down pursuers, and swim back to their escape boat. They do what is necessary under the circumstances, within a framework that renders their actions morally unobjectionable. I am
not a Navy Seal. I am a civil litigator. And I am a Catholic, just as I know there are Catholic Navy Seals. I feel like the same lessons that apply to them apply to me, because I, too, seem to be doing the moral equivalent of slitting throats and gunning down enemies, while operating in a framework—the legal profession—that renders my actions morally unobjectionable.

For more than thirty years, I have struggled over my role within the framework of litigation. I want to be a good Catholic. I want to be a good lawyer. Can I be both? Are there things I must do in my practice that offend my faith (and thus offend God)? Conversely, will practicing my faith to the fullest make me an inferior lawyer? Am I binding myself to some higher standard than legal ethics require?

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July 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Abraham Lincoln’s Use Of The Bible In His Second Inaugural Address

The National Museum of American Religion has released this wonderful 40-minute documentary, Abraham Lincoln’s Use of the Bible in His Second Inaugural Address.  It features fascinating commentary on Lincoln's faith from Pepperdine's Pulitizer-Prize winning legal historian Ed Larson (for Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion), as well as Derek Hicks (Wake Forest), Condoleezza Rice (Stanford), Rosetta Ross (Spelman), Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh (Stanford), and Ron White (Trinity Forum; Author, Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural).

For more on the role of faith in Lincoln’s second inaugural address, see:

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July 17, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Do Christians Have A Moral Duty To Tweet?

Christianity Today Op-Ed:  Don’t Quit Twitter Yet. You Might Have a Moral Duty to Stay. by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3HAs leaders, how do we avoid the faults of online life without shirking our public responsibility?

Caitlin Flanagan argued in The Atlantic that we really need to quit Twitter. She joins a long line of people who’ve sworn off the medium (at least for a time). ...

In her essay, Flanagan examines how Twitter destroyed her “ability for private thought” and enjoyment of reading. She even admits to being a Twitter addict.

I am too. I have committed a thousand times to take a break from social media, just to find myself sneaking a look, consumed by shame, as if I huffed some glue real quick between work and picking up the kids. There are nights when I’m up too late, reddened eyes locked onto a screen, finally shaking myself out of my stupor with a cry: “Why am I doing this?”

We’ve all heard the studies. Social media decreases our ability to think critically, increases rates of depression, and fuels anxiety and distraction. Facebook and Twitter often make our conversations more combative. And online advocacy often usurps the more enduring (and more boring) work of governance and institutional change.

Nevertheless, most public discourse is now online. So even if social media is a cesspool, we still have to ask the question: Do some Christians have a moral responsibility to wade into the mire to voice opposition to bad legislation, promote good work, or amplify the concerns of the marginalized? ...

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July 17, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

ProPublica: Family Research Council Is Now A Church In The Eyes Of The IRS

ProPublica, Right-Wing Think Tank Family Research Council Is Now a Church in Eyes of the IRS:

FRCThe FRC, a staunch opponent of abortion and LGBTQ rights, joins a growing list of activist groups seeking church status, which allows organizations to shield themselves from financial scrutiny.

The Family Research Council’s multimillion-dollar headquarters sit on G Street in Washington, D.C., just steps from the U.S. Capitol and the White House, a spot ideally situated for its work as a right-wing policy think tank and political pressure group.

From its perch at the heart of the nation’s capital, the FRC has pushed for legislation banning gender-affirming surgery; filed amicus briefs supporting the overturning of Roe v. Wade; and advocated for religious exemptions to civil rights laws. Its longtime head, a former state lawmaker and ordained minister named Tony Perkins, claims credit for pushing the Republican platform rightward over the past two decades.

What is the FRC? Its website sums up the answer to this question in 63 words: “A nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to articulating and advancing a family-centered philosophy of public life. In addition to providing policy research and analysis for the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government, FRC seeks to inform the news media, the academic community, business leaders, and the general public about family issues that affect the nation from a biblical worldview.”

In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, though, it is also a church, with Perkins as its religious leader.

According to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and given to ProPublica, the FRC filed an application to change its status to an “association of churches,” a designation commonly used by groups with member churches like the Southern Baptist Convention, in March 2020. The agency approved the change a few months later.

The FRC is one of a growing list of activist groups to seek church status, a designation that comes with the ability for an organization to shield itself from financial scrutiny. Once the IRS blessed it as an association of churches, the FRC was no longer required to file a public tax return, known as a Form 990, revealing key staffer salaries, the names of board members and related organizations, large payments to independent contractors and grants the organization has made. Unlike with other charities, IRS investigators can’t initiate an audit on a church unless a high-level Treasury Department official has approved the investigation.

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July 17, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink

Sunday, July 10, 2022

U.S. District Court Orders Law School To Rescind No-Contact Orders Issued Against Christian Legal Society Faculty Advisor And Students Who Shared Their Religious Views With Another Student

Washington Times, Christian Law Students, Professor Win Injunction Against U. of Idaho ‘No Contact’ Orders:

Idaho LogoA federal judge has ordered the University of Idaho to rescind no-contact orders issued against three evangelical Christian law students who shared their religious views with another student [Perlot v. Green, No. 3:22-cv-00183 (D. Idaho June 30, 2022)].

Peter Perlot, Mark Miller and Ryan Alexander — members of the law school’s Christian Legal Society chapter — are “free to speak in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs” as a lawsuit against university President C. Scott Green and three other school officials progresses, an announcement from the Alliance Defending Freedom stated.

The public-interest law firm represents the three students, who sued the University of Idaho administrators in April after the no-contact orders were issued against them and subsequently against law professor Richard Seamon, faculty adviser to the school’s Christian Legal Society chapter.

The dustup at the university’s law school stems from an April 1 “moment of community” where students, faculty and staff gathered in front of the Moscow, Idaho, campus after an anti-LGBTQ+ slur was found on a whiteboard at the university’s Boise campus. The Christian Legal Society members were present and prayed “in a showing of support,” the order from federal Chief District Judge David C. Nye says.

After the prayer, “Jane Doe,” identified in the opinion as “a queer female and a law student at the University of Idaho School of Law,” approached the society members and asked why the group requires its officers to affirm marriage as being between one man and one woman.

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July 10, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: I Pray. But I Don’t Want To See A High School Football Coach Praying At The 50-Yard Line.

Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times Op-Ed:  I Don’t Want to See a High School Football Coach Praying at the 50-Yard Line, by Anne Lamott:

Many of us who believe in a reality beyond the visible realms, who believe in a soul that survives death, and who are hoping for seats in heaven near the dessert table, also recoil from the image of a high school football coach praying at the 50-yard line.

It offends me to see sanctimonious public prayer in any circumstance — but a coach holding his players hostage while an audience watches his piety makes my skin crawl. ...

Prayer means talking to God, or to the great universal spirit, a.k.a. Gus, or to Not Me. Prayer connects us umbilically to a spirit both outside and within us, who hears and answers. Is it like the comedian Flip Wilson saying, “I’m gonna pray now; anyone want anything?”

Kind of.

I do not understand much about string theory, but I do know we are vibrations, all the time. Between the tiny strings is space in which change can happen. The strings are infinitesimal; the space between nearly limitless. Prayer says to that space, I am tiny, helpless, needy, worried, but there’s nothing I can do except send my love into that which is so much bigger than me.

How do people like me who believe entirely in science and reason also believe that prayer can heal and restore? Well, I’ve seen it happen a thousand times in my own inconsequential life. God seems like a total showoff to me, if perhaps unnecessarily cryptic.

When I pray for all the places where we see Christ crucified — Ukraine, India, the refugee camps — I see in my heart and in the newspaper that goodness draws near, through UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, volunteers, through motley old us.

I wake up praying. I say a prayer some sober people told me to pray 36 years ago, because when all else fails, follow instructions. It helps me to not fixate on who I am, but on whose. I am God’s adorable, aging, self-centered, spaced-out beloved. One man in early sobriety told me that he had come into recovery as a hotshot but that other sober men helped him work his way up to servant. I pray to be a good servant because I’ve learned that this is the path of happiness. I pray for my family and all my sick friends that they have days of grace and healing, and I end my prayers, “Make me ever mindful of the needs of the poor.” ...

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July 10, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Does Religious Freedom Protect A Right To An Abortion? One Rabbi’s Mission To Find Out.

Time, Does Religious Freedom Protect a Right to an Abortion? One Rabbi’s Mission to Find Out:

TimeWhen Florida passed a law this spring that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Rabbi Barry Silver was furious. And when it looked like the Supreme Court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would allow such bans to take effect, he decided he needed to act. Silver’s progressive synagogue, Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor in Palm Beach County, sued the state of Florida in June, arguing that the anti-abortion law infringes on religious liberty.

Judaism has viewed abortion as morally acceptable—and even required in some circumstances—for thousands of years. In contrast to some Christian beliefs that say life begins at conception, Jewish law says that life begins at birth, and that the fetus is part of the pregnant person’s body. This is widely understood to mean that the pregnant person’s rights take precedence, and that if the fetus endangers the pregnant person’s life or health, Jewish law would require them to have an abortion.

“The First Amendment, which is the first one that they enacted, upon which all other freedoms are based, was designed to prevent the exact type of thing that we see now: the merger of a radical fundamentalist type of Christianity with the state,” Silver, who is also a civil rights lawyer and a former Democratic Florida state legislator, tells TIME. “This law criminalizes the practice of Judaism.”

It’s unclear if Silver’s lawsuit will prevail, though some legal experts say it raises legitimate points. “There’s a strong argument that [courts] would also have to grant a religious exemption given the requirements of Jewish law,” says Michael Helfand, a professor of religion and ethics at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law.

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July 10, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, July 3, 2022

How Religious Colleges View The Dobbs Abortion Decision: Celebration (Liberty), Neutrality (Notre Dame), Condemnation (Emory)

Inside Higher Ed, How Religious Colleges View the Dobbs Decision:

Inside Higher EdThe U.S. Supreme Court on Friday issued a 6-to-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to reverse the long-standing federally protected right to obtain an abortion. ... [A]mong religious colleges, the response has not been uniform. While conservative institutions are celebrating, more moderate or liberal religious colleges have issued neutral statements, and some have even condemned the ruling.

The Victory Lap
Liberty University, the evangelical university in Virginia founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell in 1971—shortly before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973—is among the religious universities noting their long-standing opposition to abortion.

“Today, on behalf of Liberty University, I want to express our gratitude to Almighty God for the landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. While this does not effectively end abortion in America, it is a monumental step in the direction of protecting life and placing that decision squarely in the hands of the American people,” Liberty University president Jerry Prevo said in a statement released Friday. “For nearly 50 years, Liberty University students, faculty, and staff have prayed, volunteered, and advocated for the life of mothers and their unborn babies. The Liberty student body has led the way and marched year after year, prayed on the steps of the Supreme Court, and committed their lives to pro-life causes. As Liberty University president, I am proud that we are now officially training the first Post Roe-v-Wade generation of leaders who will be Champions for Christ to continue to advocate for the life of mothers and their unborn babies.” ...

The Catholic University of America likewise celebrated the ruling [President John Garvey, On Dobbs: Let's Build a Civilization of Love]. ...

Treading Lightly
Other religious institutions were less direct. The Reverend John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, offered a seemingly neutral statement.

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July 3, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: How Churches Can Do Better At Responding To Sexual Abuse

New York Times Op-Ed:  How Churches Can Do Better at Responding to Sexual Abuse, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3HIn May, a third-party investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, concluded that some former members of its top leadership committee, along with outside counsel, “closely guarded information about abuse allegations and lawsuits” and “were singularly focused on avoiding liability.”

As a result, the report said, “survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action” because of its organizational structure “even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry.” The report also showed that hundreds of people associated with the denomination had been accused of abuse, and that a list containing their names had long been kept secret.

Rachael Denhollander is a lawyer and a former gymnast who was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics, of sexual abuse. In addition, she has worked with survivors and Southern Baptist leaders over the past several years to urge action and accountability, to call for a third-party investigation and to demand that the denomination surrender confidential documents to investigators. She also served as an adviser for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Sexual Abuse Task Force, which was formed last year to respond to widespread allegations of abuse.

August Boto, the former general counsel for the Southern Baptist leadership branch that was investigated, called the work of advocates and survivors “a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.” He criticized Denhollander and another abuse survivor, saying that their “outcries” were evidence of the devil’s success.

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July 3, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

After The SCOTUS School Prayer Decision, What Comes Next For American Jews?

Following up on my previous post, New Pepperdine Religious Liberty Clinic Asks Supreme Court To Rule For High School Coach Fired For Praying On Football Field After Games:

Forward Op-Ed:  After the SCOTUS School Prayer Decision, What Comes Next For American Jews?, by Michael Helfand (Pepperdine):

KennedyThe Supreme Court issued yet another landmark church-state decision on Monday, finding in favor of Coach Joseph Kennedy — a public high school football coach — who had been terminated for praying at the 50-yard line after games.

The case presented not only a convoluted record of when and with whom these prayers took place, but also hinged upon issues of religious liberty, church-state separation and free speech—and has therefore become somewhat of a Rorschach test. To some, the case was all about a coach losing his job for a personal prayer; to others, the case was all about a school district preventing a school employee from indoctrinating students.

Many in the American Jewish community had expressed concern that the decision in favor of the coach might allow public school employees to foist prayers on their students, while others had worried that a decision in favor of the district might prohibit school employees from engaging in religious practices.

Ultimately, the Court’s decision has the potential to protect individual religious liberty while still protecting public school students from religious coercion. Only time will tell whether lower courts will successfully walk that line.

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July 3, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, June 26, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: I Prayed And Protested To End Roe. What Comes Next?

Prior Warren French

New York Times Op-Ed:  I Prayed and Protested to End Roe. What Comes Next?, by Karen Swallow Prior (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary):

Roe v. Wade’s reversal has elicited cries of anger and despair from those who feel a sense of dread for the future of women and the future of America.

I understand that feeling of dread.

As a pro-life advocate, I lament with those who feel they have lost a basic human right, as well as moral agency and hope for the future. But for me it is Roe that brought these losses.

Roe stripped from the prenatal child the right to continue to live and grow, safe and free from intentional harm. If you believe, as I do, that abortion unjustly ends the life of a being that is fully human, a life that exists independently of the will of the mother, is self-organizing and unique, developing yet complete in itself, then you will understand Roe not as a ruling that liberates but as one that dehumanizes, first the fetus, then the rest of us.

Further, Roe elevated radical autonomy over moral agency. Roe struck down the hope that is inherent in every human life, whether new or old, for as long as life remains.

Roe was an unjust ruling. I have always believed it would be overturned, as other unjust decisions by the court were, although I thought it would take longer. I rejoice that it did not. But of course it will take longer for abortion to become unthinkable, which is the real goal of the pro-life movement. ...

[I]n a recent Times Opinion essay, Patrick T. Brown acknowledged the need for “a broader vision of policy than just prohibiting access to abortion.” A post-Roe world, he wrote, “is one that compels a greater claim on public resources to support expectant mothers” and demands that we “take seriously the challenges that women and families experience not only during and immediately after pregnancy but also in the years that follow.”

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June 26, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

They Cite the Same Bible And Evoke The Same Jesus. But These Two Christians Are On Opposite Sides Of The Abortion Debate

CNN, They Cite the Same Bible and Evoke the Same Jesus. But These Two Christians Are on Opposite Sides of the Abortion Debate:

Both cite the same Bible. Both follow the same Jesus. And both talk about the sanctity of life.

And yet both stand on opposite sides of the contentious debate over abortion.

Trent Horn, an author, speaker and podcaster, is a Roman Catholic and an opponent of abortion rights. Laura Ellis supports legal abortion rights and is project manager at Baptist Women in Ministry, a Baptist group that advocates for women in ministry.


Both personify the divisions over abortion in the church — and show how complex the issue can be when two smart and well-informed people cite scripture to support their point of view. ...

While much of the debate around abortion has been filtered through angry protests and shouted slogans, CNN chose to interview these two Christians because each has penned thoughtful public essays on the issue.

Horn, author of "Persuasive Pro-life," wrote a recent essay, "Catholics Can't Be Pro-Choice," in which he argued that all "reasonable" people should oppose legal abortion because it is the taking of a life. "If the unborn are not human beings, then abortion is harmless surgery. But if the unborn are growing, they must be alive," he wrote.

Ellis is author of a recent essay, "Why I'm a pro-choice Christian and believe you should be too." One of her biggest criticisms of abortion rights opponents is that "often these activists fail to support other political causes that preserve the life of the child after being born."

We asked both Ellis and Horn the same four questions and received dramatically different responses. Their answers were edited for brevity.

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June 26, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: I Married The Wrong Person, And I’m So Glad I Did

New York Times Op-Ed:  I Married the Wrong Person, and I’m So Glad I Did, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3HI truly believe that everyone marries the wrong person. But even by that standard, my husband’s and my match was particularly fraught. We got married young with no idea what we were getting into or how to decide who — or if — to marry. We both brought plenty of baggage into our relationship. We argued a lot, and didn’t handle conflict well. We had a vague sense that marriage was good and a mistaken idea that it was a necessary passage into adulthood. But even as I walked down the aisle, I harbored doubts about whether we should marry.

My husband is now also an Anglican priest and over the last two decades we’ve both presided over weddings and offered premarital counseling. We both admit that if a couple came to us with the doubts and issues we had when we got engaged we’d probably say, “maybe don’t do this,” which is what our premarital counselor told us at the time. He sensed that our life paths were pulling in different directions, that neither of us had a clear idea of who we were or what we wanted, and that I was romantically hung up on another guy. We didn’t listen to his advice.

Nearly two decades later, I’m glad we didn’t. But I can also say that he was right to warn us of trouble ahead.

The last 17 years have held long stretches when one or both of us were deeply unhappy. There have been times when contempt settled on our relationship, caked and hard as dried mud. We’ve both been unkind. We’ve both yelled curse words and stormed out the door. We both have felt we needed things that the other person simply could not give us. We have been to marriage counseling for long enough now that our favorite counselor feels like part of the family. We should probably include her photo in our annual Christmas card. At times, we stayed married sheerly as a matter of religious obedience and for the sake of our children. ...

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June 26, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day And The Prodigal Son

The Federalist Op-Ed:  What I Learned From My Father About The Prodigal Son, by Mike Kerrigan (Hunton Andrews Kurth, Charlotte, NC):

Prodigal SonI was driving home from Mass with my family on Sunday morning. There the readings had included the Gospel of Luke’s parable of the prodigal son [Luke 15:11-32]. It’s the tale of the headstrong son who demanded and squandered his inheritance and then begged for forgiveness, his older brother who never rebelled, and the father who loved them both.

I had always identified with the prodigal son, and figured everyone else did, too. ... I said this to my wife, Devin, as we drove home from church. She said she understood the sentiment, but admitted at times feeling a certain kinship with the dutiful elder son. We clearly had interpreted the lesson differently, which surprised me. I decided to consult my father to break the tie.

I called him from the car, asking which character in the parable he identified with most. “Easy,” he answered. “The father.” Believing God alone had been, well, perpetually cast in that role, I never thought picking the father was an option. It seemed my dad, when faced with multiple-choice options (a) or (b), was puckishly choosing (c) as a write-in answer. Or so I thought.

Weeks later I shared the breezy exchange with Dr. William Muse of Knoxville, Tennessee. Muse, a contemporary of my father. ... “Read this,” he said, pitching me Catholic priest and writer Henri Nouwen’s spiritual classic The Return of the Prodigal Son. ... “Your dad is not wrong. None of you are.”

I devoured the book. It taught me that while we tend to be each actor — prodigal son, elder son, even the father — at different stages of life, we ultimately are called to progress to spiritual fatherhood. That is, we’re called to love one another exactly as the compassionate father did, with self-emptying hearts of mercy.

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June 19, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Gallup: Belief In God Falls To All-Time Low In U.S.: 81%, Down 6 Percentage Points (12 Percentage Points Among Democrats)

Gallup, Belief in God in U.S. Dips to 81%, a New Low:

The vast majority of U.S. adults believe in God, but the 81% who do so is down six percentage points from 2017 and is the lowest in Gallup's trend. Between 1944 and 2011, more than 90% of Americans believed in God. ... 


Belief in God has fallen the most in recent years among young adults [down 10 percentage points] and people on the left of the political spectrum (liberals [down 11 percentage points] and Democrats [down 12 percentage points]). ...

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June 19, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times: State Judge Rules Yeshiva University Must Recognize LGBTQ Student Club

New York Times, Yeshiva University Must Recognize L.G.B.T.Q. Club, Judge Says:

YU Pride AllianceStudents at Yeshiva University in New York have tried for years to get their school to recognize an L.G.B.T.Q. student club, pushing back on the administration’s argument that its status as a Modern Orthodox Jewish school exempted it from the city’s human rights law.

Last year, a group of students and alumni filed a lawsuit, and on Tuesday a state judge ruled in their favor, declaring that Yeshiva is not a religious institution and so must follow the law and recognize the club [YU Pride Alliance v. Yeshiva University].

Bina Davidson, who had been the co-president of the Y.U. Pride Alliance until she graduated in January, said she and other students were thrilled about the ruling. But their victory may be short lived.

Administrators at Yeshiva, which is named after a type of traditional Jewish religious school that is found all over the world, vowed to appeal. They also said they would ask the courts to stay the decision.

“Any ruling that Yeshiva is not religious is obviously wrong,” said Hanan Eisenman, a university spokesman, in a statement. “As our name indicates, Yeshiva University was founded to instill Torah values in its students while providing a stellar education, allowing them to live with religious conviction as noble citizens and committed Jews.”

The court’s decision, he said, “violates the religious liberty upon which this country was founded” and “permits courts to interfere in the internal affairs of religious schools, hospitals and other charitable organizations.” (While many non-Orthodox Jewish congregations are supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, Orthodox leaders tend to interpret the Torah as promoting more traditional ideas of gender and sexuality.)

The dispute at Yeshiva is the latest front in a heated nationwide debate over the limits of religious freedom and whether houses of worship, religiously affiliated companies and organizations or even pious individuals can be compelled to provide employment or other public accommodations to people with differing views. ...

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June 19, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, June 12, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: Uvalde Needs Our Prayers

New York Times Op-Ed:  Uvalde Needs Our Prayers, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3HIn some ways, it felt like a thousand pastors’ meetings I’d been to before. Seventeen ministers from around a dozen churches met in a church fellowship hall on a Wednesday morning around white plastic folding tables. Men and women shook hands, hugged and sat down together. We went around the tables introducing ourselves.

But this was not an ordinary clergy meet-up. We sat less than two miles from Robb Elementary School, where the day before a gunman killed 19 children and 2 adults.

Together these pastors faced an impossible question: What do you do when you are charged with the spiritual care of a town confronting an incomprehensible horror? ...

Tony Gruben, the pastor of Baptist Temple Church and leader of the meeting, found out about the mass shooting as it was happening. He was about an hour and a half from Uvalde, running errands. One of his church members, who is also his close friend, is the school counselor at Robb. She texted him: “Please pray. In lock down. Shooter on campus.” He didn’t text back, worried a text ping might alert an intruder if she was hiding.

A little while later, he got a call from Uvalde’s mayor. The phone connection was weak and broke up, but Gruben heard enough to know things were really bad and that he should hurry back to town. He spent the night alongside another pastor counseling families and, as he said, “helping the helpers,” by offering what he called the “ministry of presence and prayer” to law enforcement officers, town leaders and teachers at Robb. Like every other local pastor I spoke with, he didn’t get home until around midnight.

The Guardian recently summed up “thoughts and prayers” as “obfuscation and inaction.” After the Uvalde shooting, the National Parents Union called for policy changes and “more than thoughts and prayers.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been criticized for saying that he was “lifting up in prayer” children and families in Uvalde, while also taking large contributions from the NRA.

But as that debate raged online and in the broader culture, these pastors in Uvalde turned to prayer to help people respond to this tragedy. ...

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June 12, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: 400 Years Ago, They Would Be Witches. Today, They Can Be Your Spiritual Coach.

New York Times Op-Ed:  400 Years Ago, They Would Be Witches. Today, They Can Be Your Coach., by Molly Worthen (North Carolina):

Worthen[A] spiritual coach [is] a relatively new occupation that is dominated by women and appears to be growing, although hard numbers are elusive (to further confuse things, some practitioners refer to themselves as business coaches, albeit ones with a generous helping of New Age ritual on the side). At a time when more and more Americans call themselves spiritual but not religious, these coaches give us a glimpse of the allure and the hazards of 21st-century D.I.Y. religion.

Spiritual coaches are a new chapter in the long history of female religious entrepreneurship in America — a tradition that runs from Boston in the 1630s, when Anne Hutchinson’s packed religious meetings outraged Puritan ministers, to today’s evangelical conference circuit, dominated by demure yet forceful female evangelists who are not ordained but whose books and podcasts constitute major media empires. By blending eclectic religious practices with the gospel of entrepreneurship, spiritual coaches pitch their clients (who, like the coaches, are mostly women) the things that religion has always promised. They offer a path to meaning in the midst of suffering and tools to recover a sense of agency in a world that flings us around by our heels. ...

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June 12, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Race, Immigration Law, And Christianity: Despair Or Hope?

Jennifer Lee Koh (Pepperdine), Race, Immigration Law, and Christianity: Reflections and Tensions Raised by United States v. Wong Kim Ark:, 23 Pol. Theology ___ (2022):

Political TheologyIn 1898, the United States Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to the children of immigrants born on U.S. soil. The case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, involved the son of Chinese immigrants who was born in and had spent the vast majority of his life in the U.S. Immigration officials denied his claim to citizenship when he attempted to return to the country after a trip to China. Its direct legal holding—that birthright citizenship is a constitutional right—continues to have salience for immigration law debates and discourse today.

This Essay, written for a joint symposium between the Journal of Law and Religion and Political Theology on Wong Kim Ark and James Baldwin’s 1955 essay, Equal in Paris, reflects upon several themes—and tensions—present in the case and echoed in contemporary society. The Essay first explores the influence of race in the development of immigration law, along with the simultaneous discomfort with race as a basis for legal rights and remedies. The second theme, raised by Wong Kim Ark’s holding and subsequent history, is the necessity and shortcomings of law as a source of protection, particularly in the context of bureaucratic systems with the power to incarcerate. Finally, the conclusion briefly highlights ways in which Christianity might serve as a source of both despair and hope for the future.

IV. Christianity in America as a Source of Despair and Hope
The Wong Kim Ark decision is now over one hundred years old and stands for a relatively simple legal assertion about birthright citizenship. But the decision, along with the historical context and personal experience of Wong, offers various moments of resonance with contemporary conversations around similar themes present in the case: citizenship, belonging, formal law, actual practice, and the impact of incarceration on the value of the self. What if any relevance does Christianity in the US have on these themes? I suggest here that Christianity can serve as either a source of despair or of hope, depending on one’s perspective and which aspects of American Christianity receive emphasis.

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June 12, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Sunday, June 5, 2022

WSJ Book Review: What Did Thomas Jefferson Really Think About God?

Wall Street Journal Book Review:  ‘Thomas Jefferson’ Review: The Spirit Was Partly Willing, by Barton Swaim (Editorial Page Writer, Wall Street Journal) (reviewing Thomas S. Kidd (Baylor; Google Scholar), Thomas Jefferson: A Biography of Spirit and Flesh (2022)):

Thomas JeffersonFor most of the 20th century, historians and biographers adopted a reverential tone toward the American Founders. That, as readers of these pages will not need to be told, has changed. A half-century ago the typical scholar would have expressed sincere regret that Washington, Jefferson, Madison et al. had owned slaves and failed to live up to the Declaration’s promise of equality. But that scholar would also have acknowledged their courage, intellectual rigor, sagacity and political skill. In the 2020s, by contrast, the Founders’ principal accomplishments are the depredation of native lands and the composition of a now-obsolete Constitution. And every Founder, slave-owner or not, stands more or less guilty of the one sin from which, in the post-Christian code of morality, there is no hope of redemption: white supremacy.

It’s tendentious and sanctimonious and productive of much bad writing, that’s true. But the move away from veneration may bring collateral benefits. There was a time when influential historians and high-ranking Democratic politicians revered Thomas Jefferson because he embodied their ideals of freethinking skepticism and disregard for tradition. That time has passed. Jefferson was a great and accomplished man, whatever his severest detractors might say. But the revelation in 1998 that he sired several children by an enslaved servant has made his repellent views on the subject of race impossible for his admirers to play down or excuse. The reputation of Jefferson the Enlightenment Hero has suffered in turn. It’s hard to praise a man for his courageous heterodoxy, belief in man’s unaided capacity for reason, and support for French revolutionary violence when he also compared blacks to subhumans and spurned the poetry of Phillis Wheatley solely because she was black.

What we need is a balanced reassessment of Jefferson’s thought and attitudes on God and religion. Thomas S. Kidd, a professor of history at Baylor, gives us that in his crisply written life Thomas Jefferson: A Biography of Spirit and Flesh.

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June 5, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ Essay:  Why Most Pastors Avoid Politics

Wall Street Journal Essay:  Why Most Pastors Avoid Politics, by Ryan Burge (Baptist Pastor; Author, Twenty Myths About Religion and Politics in America (2022); and Assistant Professor of Political Science, Eastern Illinois University):

Rev. [Greg] Locke and Robert Jeffress ... are often raised up by critics as examples of how American Christianity has become overtly political, sparking a movement on social media to revoke the tax-exempt status of all U.S. churches.

In fact, research shows that only a very small fraction of American pastors invoke politics from the pulpit. The reason isn’t ministers’ fear of running afoul of the IRS, but instead a strategic calculation about their own careers and the future.

In 2019, I conducted a survey of 1,010 Protestant Christians asking them if they had heard their pastor discuss a list of 10 political issues from the pulpit over the previous year. The list ranged from simple encouragement to vote on election day to hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights. The survey showed that 30% had heard none of the issues discussed in church, while another 25% said they had heard only one. The most commonly mentioned issue was religious liberty, cited by 30% of respondents. Just a quarter of churchgoers said that they had heard a sermon about gay rights or abortion, and only 16% had ever heard Donald Trump’s name invoked from the pulpit.

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June 5, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates The Class Of 2022

3L Commissioning Service and Dinner (April 20, 2022):


3L Baccalaureate Service (May 19, 2022):

Baccalaureate Program

Baccalaureate Chapel

Baccalaureate Eric

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June 5, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink

Sunday, May 29, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: Curing The Political Polarization Destroying America With Humility And Joy

New York Times Op-Ed:  America Has a Scorn Problem, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3In the Bible’s Book of Luke, there’s a parable about a religious person, who has all the right opinions, and a tax collector, who is culturally despised. To paraphrase the religious person, he prays, “Thank you, God, that I’m not like those others, the immoral people.” But the tax collector beats his chest in sorrow and prays for God’s mercy. The parable is about the need for humility. The “sinner,” the tax collector, not the religious person, turns out to be the righteous one. Luke tells us that Jesus told this parable “to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else.” That appears to be a lot of us in 21st-century America.

A Scientific American report on political polarization noted that Americans increasingly hold “a basic abhorrence for their opponents — an ‘othering’ in which a group conceives of its rivals as wholly alien in every way.” It continues, “This toxic form of polarization has fundamentally altered political discourse, public civility and even the way politicians govern.” A 2019 study by Pew said, “55 percent of Republicans say Democrats are ‘more immoral’ when compared with other Americans; 47 percent of Democrats say the same about Republicans.”

We find one another repugnant — not just wrong but bad. Our rhetoric casts the arguments of others as profound moral failings. ...

This hatred toward our opponents and the accompanying habit of moralism is destroying us as people. ... [W]e cannot flourish as individuals or as a society if we cast all those who differ from us as moral monsters.

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May 29, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

'The Christian Faith Is Flourishing At Harvard Law School'

NY Times Op-Ed: Work, Pray, Code — Work Is Replacing Religion In Silicon Valley (And Elsewhere)

New York Times Op-Ed:  When Your Job Fills In for Your Faith, That’s a Problem, by Sean Dong (UC-Berkeley; Co-Director, Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion; Co-Author, Work, Pray, Code: When Work Becomes Religion in Silicon Valley (2022))

Work Pray CodePlenty of writers have argued in recent years that work has become a false idol, with the office, not church, the place where many Americans now seek out meaning and purpose. As a sociologist of religion, I think these writers are right: Work is replacing — and in some cases, even taking the form of — religion among many of America’s professionals.

Between 2013 and 2018, I conducted over 100 interviews for my book “Work Pray Code.” Most of them were with tech workers based in Silicon Valley, people who told me over and over that their careers are “spiritual journeys” and their work is a “calling.” Many said they had become more spiritual, whole and connected after working in tech. Their workplaces were communities where they found belonging, meaning and purpose.

But as I discovered during my research, the gospel of work is thin gruel, an ethically empty solution to meet our essential need for belonging and meaning. And it is starving us as individuals and communities. ...

Worshiping work costs the rest of us, too. Today the theocracy of work increasingly governs life in other knowledge-industry hubs across America like Seattle, New York and Cambridge, Mass. It is hollowing out our faith communities and civic associations — the places where diverse groups of people hash out hard questions of moral value, the very questions that [people are] so hungry to engage with.

Across different faith traditions, clergy members in Silicon Valley say that their congregations are dwindling because people are too busy working. A few decades ago, a pastor told me, the typical member attended Sunday service and Sunday school most weeks. Today that member attends only Sunday service once a month, he said. And he is scraping for volunteers as never before.

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May 29, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, May 22, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: We’re In A Loneliness Crisis — Another Reason To Get Off Our Phones

New York Times Op-Ed:  We’re in a Loneliness Crisis: Another Reason to Get Off Our Phones, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3It rained one morning this week. I moved back to Texas last year, in part for the rainstorms. Here, it rains decisively, gloriously, like it really means it. It explodes, pounds, roars, thunders and then, suddenly, moves on. I stepped on my back porch, not wanting to miss the show.

I sat, silent, smelling that indescribable rain scent and stretching out my hands, palms open in supplication, the same position I use in church to receive communion. The physicality of the experience, the sensual joy of sounds, smells, touch and sight, was profoundly humanizing. In a very real way, I am made for that. I am made to notice the rain. I’m made to love it.

We are creatures made to encounter beauty and goodness in the material world.

But digitization is changing our relationship with materiality — both the world of nature and of human relationships. We are trained through technology (and technology corporations) to spend more time on screens and less time noticing and interacting with this touchable, smellable, feelable world. Social media in particular trains us to notice that which is large, loud, urgent, trending and distant, and to therefore miss the small, quiet importance of our proximate and limited, embodied lives.

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May 22, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Christianity And Constitutional Law

Nicholas Aroney (TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland; Google Scholar), Christianity and Constitutional Law:

Christianity and ConstitutionalismThis paper, written for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Christianity and Law, edited by John Witte and Rafael Domingo, explores the influence of Christianity on constitutional law. The paper begins by pointing out that modern constitutional law is the product of several important historical influences. These include elements of Greek philosophy, Roman law, Christian theology, and Enlightenment principles. Greek philosophy proposed a classification of the basic types of constitution and introduced the idea of the rule of law. Roman law contributed the legal concept of jurisdiction, which is an essential feature of contemporary constitutional law. Christian theology offered a conceptual framework in which the authority of civil government was effectively qualified by a higher natural or divine law, and in which the spiritual authority of the church posed a practical limit on the temporal powers of the civil authority. Christian theology also provided the context in which the powers of civil and ecclesiastical rulers were tempered through various means, including the administration of oaths of office and the issuing of charters guaranteeing the rights of religious, social, economic, and civil associations of many kinds. The principle of the separation of powers and the establishment of written constitutions enforced by judicial review, although associated with the Enlightenment, also owed a great deal to these earlier principles and practices. The paper surveys the contribution of each of these influences and argues that although the Greek, Roman, and Enlightenment contributions have been important, constitutional law would not be what it is today if it were not for the influence of Christianity.

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May 22, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Tax Experts Say Section 107 Housing Allowance For Clergy Remains Safe Despite Recent Cases And Greedy Abuses

Christianity Today, Churches Still Depend on Clergy Housing Allowance:

Despite recent legal cases and reports of greedy abuses, experts say the longstanding benefit remains safe.

Wth the federal tax filing deadline looming, a Virginia court case may have some ministers wondering whether their ministerial housing allowance is secure.

The case isn’t about the housing allowance. But to some, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, it suggests courts may be willing to meddle increasingly in clergy affairs, including housing.

At issue was denial of a property tax exemption for a church parsonage in Fredericksburg, Virginia. New Life in Christ Church sought the tax exemption for a church-owned home inhabited by two youth ministers, married couple Josh and Anacari Storms. The city denied the exemption because it claimed the church’s denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), does not allow women to be considered ministers.

New Life in Christ said the city misunderstood its doctrine. Ordination and certain duties, like preaching, are limited to men in the PCA, according to the church, but the denomination’s governing documents permit congregations latitude in hiring nonordained persons like the Stormses for various ministry jobs. Yet a trial court sided with Fredericksburg, as did the Virginia Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court declined to hear the church’s appeal in January. Now the church must continue paying the annual property tax bill of $4,589.15. The Supreme Court’s action provoked a dissent from Gorsuch.

“The City continues to insist that a church’s religious rules are ‘subject to verification’ by government officials,” Gorsuch wrote. “I would grant the [church’s] petition and summarily reverse. The First Amendment does not permit bureaucrats or judges to ‘subject’ religious beliefs ‘to verification.’”

Is the case a harbinger of increased willingness to scrutinize ministerial housing in court? Pastors across America hope not. While fewer churches own traditional parsonages, the majority take advantage of the federal clergy housing allowance and say it benefits both their families and their churches. ...

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May 22, 2022 in Faith, New Cases, Tax, Tax News | Permalink

Sunday, May 15, 2022

WSJ Book Review: America's Book — The Rise and Decline Of A Bible Civilization

Wall Street Journal Book Review:  ‘America’s Book’ Review: The Word Out of Season, by D.G. Hart (Hillsdale College) (Reviewing Mark A. Noll (Notre Dame), America's Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911 (2022)):

America's BookMany Americans born after 1960 have trouble imagining that for much of the country’s history the Bible was a chief source of national identity. ... Whether ceremonial or therapeutic, Bible-reading in public schools was, by the 1950s, among the last uncontested conventions of America’s Bible civilization.

Mark Noll’s Mark A. Noll (Notre Dame), America's Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911 explains how the Bible achieved this status. The new nation’s rejection of European forms of Christendom such as sacral monarchy and state churches left the Bible to bear the burden of America’s attempt to create a Christian civilization. A completely secular republic was never a possibility except for the most free-thinking of free thinkers. The Founders virtually to a man insisted that a republic depended on a virtuous citizenry, and that the best source of morality was religion. Despite the variety of Protestant denominations, church leaders and public officials agreed that the Bible was the best and most reliable guide for determining moral consensus.

“America’s Book” documents the extent of the Bible’s reach—from the printing and distribution of Bibles and the creation of Sunday schools to the intellectual dead ends into which unwise handlers of the Bible were led. The book’s breadth is a tribute to Mr. Noll’s career as an interpreter of Protestantism in North America, even if its encyclopedic quantity occasionally obscures the overarching argument. ...

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May 15, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: If Roe Is Overturned, Where Should The Pro-Life Movement Go Next?

New York Times Op-Ed:  If Roe Is Overturned, Where Should the Pro-Life Movement Go Next?, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3Pro-life activists have been working toward overturning the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision ever since it came down in 1973. But as I spoke to folks from pro-life and whole-life movements last week after the leak of a draft opinion that indicated the court will overturn Roe, the mood was complicated. I did not find unalloyed jubilance or triumph.

Most people I talked to expressed cautious optimism and hope but also concern. This was in part because they worried that the court’s draft opinion may shift in weeks to come. But more so because those who take a holistic approach to reducing abortion feel that legally restricting abortion, while a win for justice and the voiceless and vulnerable, is not alone enough to create a culture that is holistically pro-life and addresses the needs of both women and unborn children.

The sense I got is that, for many pro-life and whole-life leaders, this Supreme Court decision would represent a starting line, not a finish line. There are no credits rolling with a victorious pro-life movement marching into the sunset. One activist told me, “I feel joy and relief, but it is kind of like the joy and relief one feels in getting into college, being cast in the school play or making the varsity team. The conditions for the possibility of achieving the goal have been met, but there’s so much more hard work to do.”

What lies ahead is the continued need to enact policies that address the underlying reasons that some women feel they need abortions in the first place. I asked pro-life or whole-life thinkers and leaders: If Roe is overturned, where should the pro-life and whole-life movements direct energy to support women, unborn children and families?

Here are some of their responses: ...

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May 15, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: Too Much Church In The State For This Catholic

New York Times Op-Ed:  Too Much Church in the State, by Maureen Dowd:

As a Catholic whose father lived through the Irish Catholics “need not apply” era, I’m happy to see Catholics do well in the world. There is an astonishing preponderance of Catholics on the Supreme Court — six out of the nine justices, and a seventh, Neil Gorsuch, was raised as a Catholic and went to the same Jesuit boys’ high school in a Maryland suburb that Brett Kavanaugh and my nephews did, Georgetown Prep. ...

[T]his Catholic feels an intense disquiet that Catholic doctrine may be shaping (or misshaping) the freedom and the future of millions of women, and men. There is a corona of religious fervor around the court, a churchly ethos that threatens to turn our whole country upside down.

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May 15, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, May 8, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: How To Cultivate Joy Even When It Feels In Short Supply

New York Times Op-Ed:  How to Cultivate Joy Even When It Feels in Short Supply, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3In the Bible, there’s a question that Paul asks in his letter to the Galatian church that has haunted me for the last couple of years: What has happened to all your joy?

I don’t think that many people looking at the church in America today or at broader American society would say, “Now, there is a group of people marked by joy.”

In a 2020 survey, happiness and well-being among Americans reached a 50-year low. But it’s a deeper issue than just that. Joy is hardier and sturdier than mere happiness or positive circumstances, closer in meaning to contentment than amusement. The current state of our cultural discourse seems to be joylessness writ large. ...

Our culture desperately needs to rethink and rediscover joy. ...

How can I possibly cultivate joy? ... There will inevitably be traffic jams and illnesses, afternoons when I feel grumpy or mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. But joy can be taken up, even when things aren’t going great. “Joy is both a gift and a practice,” I wrote in my last book, “but it isn’t primarily a feeling any more than self-control or faithfulness are feelings. It is a muscle we can strengthen with exercise.” ...

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May 8, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

WSJ Op-Ed: The Blessing Of A Mother’s Love

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  The Blessing of a Mother’s Love, by Mike Kerrigan (Hunton Andrews Kurth, Charlotte, NC):

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” I understand this insight more fully when I reflect on the earthly blessing of a mother’s love.

Contemplation of this doesn’t require a doctorate in theology. I’ve always found the bond between a mother and her son, from the latter’s perspective, to be the most uncomplicated of human relationships. She’s your mom and you love her, simple as that.

Memories of her positive influence in my life are legion, yet the best evidence of the transcendence of a mother’s love is the spell it casts on its beloved. While the years have been good to my mom, I’m told she is aging. I say “I’m told” because whenever I gaze at her, I see only the cool lady in her mid-30s picking me up after soccer. In my mind’s eye, she is forever young.

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May 8, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

NY Times Op-Ed: Why I Pray To A God I Don’t Believe In

New York Times Op-Ed:  How to Pray to a God You Don’t Believe In, by Scott Hershovitz (Michigan; Author, Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Adventures in Philosophy With My Kids (2022)):

Nasty 2The world is awful at the moment. Millions have died of Covid-19. Authoritarianism is on the rise, abroad and at home. And now there’s war, with all the death, destruction and dislocation that entails.

In dark times, many people seek refuge in religion. They hold fast to their faith. ... But darkness also drives many people away from God.

[T]he “problem of evil” [is] an old philosophical question. [I]f you think about God (who’s supposed to be all-powerful and endlessly empathetic), the existence of evil poses a serious puzzle: Why does God let us suffer?

People have proposed many answers, but most are poorly reasoned. For instance, some say that good requires evil — that it can’t exist without it. It’s not clear why that would be true. But the bigger problem is that if you take that view, you call into question God’s omnipotence. It turns out there’s something God can’t do: create good without evil.

But also: If good requires evil, maybe just a little bit would do. Is absolutely every evil in the world essential? Why can’t we have a world that’s just like this one — except without that twinge of pain I felt last Tuesday? What kind of God can’t soothe my sciatica? My physical therapist, Tony, makes my back feel better, and he doesn’t even claim to be a deity.

He is a hero, though (at least to me). And some say that’s why God allows evil in the world. He doesn’t care about pleasure and pain. He cares about what pleasure and pain make possible — compassion, redemption and heroic acts, like Tony mending my back. To get those goods, though, God has to give us free will. And once we have it, some of us abuse it.

This is, historically, the most influential answer. ... But I don’t buy it. Why can’t God create only those people who would use their free will well? Why can’t he wave Paul Farmer through and keep Vladimir Putin out? He knows in advance how each of them will act — if he’s really omniscient.

Some believers feel the force of these arguments, but maintain their faith nonetheless. Marilyn McCord Adams, a philosopher and Episcopal priest, doubted that we could explain the existence of evil. But that didn’t bother her. A 2-year-old child, she explained, might not understand why his mother would permit him to have painful surgery. Nevertheless, he could be convinced of his mother’s love by her “intimate care and presence” through the painful experience.

For those who feel the presence of God or have faith that they will feel it later, I think Ms. Adams’s attitude makes some sense. But if I’m honest, it sounds too optimistic to me. ... I think the problem of evil poses a serious barrier to religious belief.

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May 8, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, May 1, 2022

WSJ Op-Ed: How God Works — The Science Behind The Benefits Of Religion

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  Does Religion Make People More Ethical?, by David DeSteno (Northeastern; Google Scholar; Author, How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion (2021)):

How God Works[W]hen it comes to morality, the power of religion is more in the doing than in the believing. Studies of religion and health show that identifying with a religion—saying you believe in God or going to worship once a year on Easter or Yom Kippur—means very little. Epidemiological research shows that it is people who live their faith, regularly going to services and engaging in their religion’s rituals, who tend to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

In most faiths, being religious isn’t just defined by a creed but by rituals and practices that permeate daily life. When we pray and sing together, listen to readings from scripture, or give offerings and blessings of thanks to God, our minds and bodies aren’t passive. They’re subtly being nudged toward virtue.

Take giving to charity. A large-scale 2017 study by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy [Special Report on Giving to Religion] showed that in the U.S., 62% of religiously active households gave to charity, with an average donation of $1,590. By contrast, only 46% of nonreligious households give, with an average donation of $695. And increased attendance at religious services is associated with increased generosity.  ...

[W]hen people feel gratitude, elevation and compassion more frequently, they become more moral in general. While this might seem at odds with the commonly held view that qualities like honesty or generosity are stable personality traits, scientists now recognize that morality is really more of a moment-to-moment balancing act between competing motives. From about the age of 7 onward, children spend a good deal of time learning how to exert self-control so they can inhibit their less-than-noble desires.

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May 1, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Christian Legal Society Members Sue Law School For Punishing Them For Expressing Their Religious Beliefs

Alliance Defending Freedom, Idaho Law Students File Suit After University Punishes Them For Their Religious Beliefs:

Christian Legal Society (2022)Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing three Christian law students filed suit Monday against University of Idaho officials for violating the students’ First Amendment rights by punishing them because of the religious content and viewpoint of their speech.

“Students of all religious and ideological stripes must be free to discuss and debate the important issues of our day, especially law students who are preparing for a career that requires civil dialogue among differing viewpoints,” said ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross. “Yet the University of Idaho is shutting down Peter, Mark, and Ryan because of their religious beliefs. This is illegal behavior from any government official, and we urge the university officials to right their discriminatory actions immediately.”

Peter Perlot, Mark Miller, and Ryan Alexander are members of the Christian Legal Society chapter at the University of Idaho. When Perlot and Miller joined most of the other members of CLS at a “moment of community” gathering to condemn a discriminatory slur written at another campus, a law student approached them to ask why CLS requires its officers to affirm the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Miller respectfully explained that the chapter requires this because it is the only view of marriage and sexuality affirmed in the Bible.

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May 1, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

The Chosen At Pepperdine Caruso Law

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I absolutely love The Chosen, without a doubt the most beautiful cinematic depiction of the life of Jesus:

One of the coolest things about The Chosen is that it is entirely crowd-funded and offered free on its website (viewers do not even have to give their email address). Dallas Jenkins, the show's creator, graciously allowed us to show Season 1 and Season 2 at Pepperdine Caruso Law this year. My wife Courtney and I hosted each episode on Fridays and provided lunch to the students, staff, and faculty who joined us. At our final showing of the year, the students surpised me with this:

A student captured my reaction to the video:

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May 1, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, April 24, 2022

God, Grades, And Graduation: Religion's Surprising Impact On Academic Success

New York Times Op-Ed:  I Followed the Lives of 3,290 Teenagers. This Is What I Learned About Religion and Education, by Ilana M. Horwitz (Fields-Rayant Chair of Contemporary Jewish Life, Tulane University; Author, God, Grades, and Graduation: Religion's Surprising Impact on Academic Success (Oxford University Press 2022) (author summary) (author interview)):

God Grades And GraduationAs a sociologist of education and religion, I followed the lives of 3,290 teenagers from 2003 to 2012 using survey and interview data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, and then linking those data to the National Student Clearinghouse in 2016. I studied the relationship between teenagers’ religious upbringing and its influence on their education: their school grades, which colleges they attend and how much higher education they complete. My research focused on Christian denominations because they are the most prevalent in the United States.

I found that what religion offers teenagers varies by social class. Those raised by professional-class parents, for example, do not experience much in the way of an educational advantage from being religious. In some ways, religion even constrains teenagers’ educational opportunities (especially girls’) by shaping their academic ambitions after graduation; they are less likely to consider a selective college as they prioritize life goals such as parenthood, altruism and service to God rather than a prestigious career.

However, teenage boys from working-class families, regardless of race, who were regularly involved in their church and strongly believed in God were twice as likely to earn bachelor’s degrees as moderately religious or nonreligious boys.

Religious boys are not any smarter, so why are they doing better in school? The answer lies in how religious belief and religious involvement can buffer working-class Americans — males in particular — from despair. ...

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April 24, 2022 in Book Club, Faith, Legal Education | Permalink