Robert Okay. Vischer (Interim President & Former Dean, St. Thomas; Google Scholar), Christian Nationalism and the Rule of Regulation:
Present threats to the rule of legislation in the US emerge, not less than partly, from a nationalism formed by a distinctly American imaginative and prescient of Christianity. Defenders of the rule of legislation should due to this fact reply in phrases that confront the spiritual dimension of the menace straight. Religiously affiliated legislation colleges ought to be key contributors to this dialog, modeling a faith-shaped discourse that avoids invoking Christianity as a conversation-stopper, as a sign of self-righteousness, or as a method to fire up hatred of “the opposite.” How may the general public witness of our religion help, somewhat than impede, the rule of legislation?
Understanding what wholesome Christian political engagement seems like — and the way Christian nationalism has fallen quick — is vital for legislation colleges, that are tasked with coaching attorneys to be devoted stewards of the rule of legislation. Too usually, we overlook the extent to which this stewardship should embody a recognition of, and response to, faith’s function in American politics. Turning into conversant in First Modification case legislation will not be enough. Studying to “assume like a lawyer” needn’t (and shouldn’t) preclude the significant exploration of religion, each as a result of religion will usually be among the many lawyer’s personal deeply held and professionally related commitments, and since even non-religious attorneys will counsel and advocate in a deeply spiritual society.
The truth that our schools lean decidedly to the left could tempt legislation colleges to embrace the nation’s deepening political tribalism and neglect to undertake the arduous work of constructing understanding throughout the cultural divide. That is very true when one’s political opponents are motivated, not less than partly, by spiritual perception. Few legislation colleges dedicate vital time to understanding the connection between religion and legislation, a lot much less recognizing and articulating situations when religion traditions have been twisted to help new political ends.
Pushing again towards Christian nationalism doesn’t require a retreat to some form of imagined secular house — the sources for resistance can be found inside Christianity itself. We’re, as Harold Laski put it, “bundles of hyphens,” and American Christians who’re attorneys and legislation professors ought to converse to this cultural second, not solely as stewards of the rule of legislation, however as stewards of their religion custom. Christian nationalists are espousing a model of the religion that has profound and harmful penalties for the rule of legislation. We can’t defend the rule of legislation by relying solely on arguments that fail to deal with the foundational claims from which threats emerge. Christian nationalism is one such menace, and we have to reply — as attorneys, and maybe extra importantly, as Christians.