Christian attorneys being trained throughout the nation

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Last week, a commenter on one of my posts expressed surprise/disgust that “groups with Constitutional law expertise” were assisting West Virginia’s Harrison County Board of Education in its fight to keep a painting of Jesus on the wall next to the principal’s office at Bridgeport High School in Clarksburg. Such groups have been around for a while, using their legal knowledge to fight the ACLU in church/state separation cases. Of course, this gets a bit confusing from time to time, since the evil ACLU has represented some of the Christian defendants.

At any rate, I thought it might be informative to report that this influx of a certain type of Christian lawyer is supported by Liberty University’s School of Law, which trains lawyers-to-be who want to put an end to legal abortion, put prayer back into public schools, and ban same-sex marriage. Liberty University was founded by and is guided by Jerry Falwell, who, you will remember, blamed the ACLU, feminists and gay citizens for the September 11 attacks.

The Liberty University School of Law‘s vision is to “see again all meaningful dialogue over law include the role of faith and the perspective of a Christian worldview as the framework most conducive to the pursuit of truth and justice.”

The provisionally accredited law school was founded in 2002, with $14.6 million invested in it so far. Law school students are not allowed to have any body piercings, nor may they wear Birkenstock-type sandals (because we all know that exposure of the toes causes a lapse in reasoning and scholarship).

Liberty is not unique. Pat Robertson’s Regency University School of Law and the Ave Maria School of Law represent two of the fifty or so law schools that have some sort of religious affiliation.

Falwell says that his law school is “training lieutenants for the Lord.” Former director for the Birmingham’s Center for Study of Law and Church at the Cumberland School of Law Chris Doss says that Falwell’s law school is very open about “training people to go forth as Christian crusaders. They are very good at bringing forth converts.” And from a Liberty graduate: “It is a misperception about our school that we’ll all start pounding the Bible in court. Is there a possibility that you could sit across from an interviewer who thinks you got your degree from a Cracker Jack box? Sure, but if you pass the bar, that speaks for itself.”

Indeed it does. Christian law schools are doing their best to prepare their students to be good attorneys so that they will have sufficent influence with clients, courts and society in general.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest