Inside the Right-Wing Christian Law School That Brought Us Michele Bachmann
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The necessity of electing judges, rather than appointing them, was the subject of Parker’s First Friday lecture in January, because “elected judges are bulwarks against the agenda of the left.”
“If you take a moment to think,” said Parker, “federal judges appointed for life have legalized abortion, homosexuality, pornography, same-sex marriages, and outlawed school prayer and the display of the Ten Commandments.”
“When judges don’t rule in fear of the Lord,” he concluded, “all the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
Just the sort of thing that Peroutka complains isn’t taught in secular law schools. But at ORU, it was.
The Birth of the Christian Law School
The launch of the law school at ORU was intended to create public figures just like Bachmann: lawyers unafraid to inject their particular Christian beliefs, not only into the public square, but quite deliberately into legislation, policy, and jurisprudence.
As Titus tells it, God opened a door when the televangelist Oral Roberts wanted to found a Christian law school at his eponymous university in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “My first reaction,” said Titus in a recent interview with the Christian Reconstructionist Chalcedon Foundation, “was, no way, I’m not going to be identified with Oral Roberts, with this healer, with this Pentecostal personae and so forth, and yet God made it so clear to us that we were to go and help begin a Christian law school.”
Bachmann, who until a few years ago attended a staid and deeply conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod church in Stillwater, Minnesota, might have been, like her law school classmate Dean Burnetti, “shocked” when a fellow student spoke in tongues in chapel the first day of law school. But Burnetti, now a personal injury lawyer in Florida, told me, “My personal worship experience has changed because of those people, and the way I see God’s active involvement in my life has changed because of that.”
The law school at ORU was a first effort at creating a “Christian” law school that would teach the “biblical” foundations of the law—essentially substituting Rushdoony’s totalizing worldview for mainstream legal theory. His views are evident not only in the ORU education Bachmann received, but in the perspectives of other Christian law schools forged on the ORU example, such as Liberty University Law School, where students are taught to follow “ God’s law” rather than “man’s law,” and where Rushdoony’s texts are required reading. The rise of Christian schools—not just law schools, but elementary and secondary education, and homeschooling as well—has been, in Titus’ view, a “silent revolution” that has “basically escaped the scrutiny of most journalists.”
According to Titus, there have been “tremendous strides that have been made in last 20 or 30 years,” in developing other “Christian” law schools, including Regent University Law School, which, as noted above, took over ORU law school after Bachmann graduated. Titus credits Roberts, who “didn’t bow down to the establishment”; in particular the American Bar Association, which initially refused to give the school accreditation because it required faculty and students to be professing Christians (both were required to sign a pledge that they were followers of Jesus).
Burnetti described Bachmann as “brilliant” and a “very gifted, very talented, very smart girl.” When I asked whether he could see now how her ORU education influenced her, he said, “there’s no doubt in my mind that has an influence and will have an influence on everything that passes through the filter of her conscience and life. It will be filtered through the principles she has used in the joining of the Bible and her Christian faith and beliefs and the use of the Constitution.”