It’s only the American version, but still:
Louisiana College in Pineville plans to announce today its desire to open a “biblical worldview” law school with classes starting in 2009.
Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard said the school will fill a “niche” in Louisiana to train defenders of conservative Christian values in the courtroom and politics.
The new law school would fall in line with other Christian conservative law schools, such as the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law and televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University School of Law, both in Virginia.
A few points here.
One, I agree with LSU Law’s dean, that if this is what those LC folks want to do, well, good for them:
LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss said Louisiana College has a right to fill a niche if it perceives one exists.
“The truth will emerge from a multitude of tongues,” Weiss said. “If there are different perspectives on law, so be it.”
Two, if I was a prospective student, I’d like to know what the “biblical worldview” of contracts, or tax, or secured transactions, or business organizations, or civil procedure, or trial advocacy, or intellectual property, or legal research, or torts is. I’d also like to know what I am supposed to do with an education in the bible’s version of law. How would the Bible’s view on interest rates, for instance, affect my ability to represent clients in the banking industry?
Finally, if I was a prospective student, I’d also want to know why I should trust my education to a school headed by someone who could say something as ridiculous as this:
Aguillard said the law school will “unashamedly embrace” the nation’s “biblical roots”
That is nonsense.
For starters, there’s a good case that the entire idea of a revolution is anathema to the Bible, which states of authorities:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
I’m not saying that the revolution was contrary to the Bible’s teaching; just that there is no way the Bible was the origin of ideas about rebellion. The proponents of revolution may have squared the idea with the Bible, but it was a post-hoc endeavor. The ideas originated somewhere else.
The extra-Biblical origins of the revolution should not be surprising, because most of the founding fathers were at most soft deists; people who folks like Aguillard would condemn as false christians, just as the right wing of his day condemned Thomas Jefferson as an infidel.
More importantly, even if the founding fathers were hard core fundamentalists like Aguillard, the true “root” of our country – our constitution – is a thoroughly secular document.
Prior to the United States, and in accord with Romans 13, governments everywhere were viewed as established by God. Even most of the state constitutions invoked deities. With all these examples of reliance upon heaven in the minds of the founders, what does our constitution recognize as the source of its authority? Not the God of the Bible or any other deity:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We take these words for granted now, but at the time this was a shocking departure from all other known governments.
The preamble isn’t the only godless potion of the document; there is no god anywhere in the constitution. Check out the presidential oath of office, for example, another place religious clap-trap would be expected:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
No mention of Bibles upon which to swear, or even a “so help me god.”
What space the Constitution dedicates to religion is used to separate religion from civil government: No religious tests for office, no establishment of religion, guaranteed free exercise of religion. Sure, most of the people who lived in the country at the time of ratification were Christians, but the government created by the constitution is secular.
If anyone wants extra-textual evidence that the United States has a secular origin, consider the Treaty of Triploli, approved unanimously by the Senate in 1797:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
As further non-textual evidence, during the time of ratification, many of the opponents of the constitution complained that it allowed for a non-Christian government.
In a New York newspaper, expressing fear that prohibiting religious tests would allow the election of:
“Ist. Quakers, who will make the blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defence–2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the doctrine of the Trinity–3dly. Deists, abominable wretches–4thly. Negroes, the seed of Cain–Sthly. Beggars, who when set on horse back will ride to the devil–6thly. Jews etc. etc.
A report from the Massachusetts state ratifying convention:
Major LUSK…passed to the article dispensing with the qualification of a religious test, and concluded by saying, that he shuddered at the idea that Roman Catholics, Papists, and Pagans might be introduced into office, and the popery and the inquisition may be established in America.
North Carolina delegate Henry Abbott summed up the fears of those who opposed the Constitution:
The exclusion of religious tests is by many thought dangerous and impolitic. They suppose that if there be no religious test required pagans, deists, and Mahometans might obtain offices among us, and that the senators and representatives might all be pagans.
Aguillard gets mad at courts, while his fundamentalist ancestors got mad at the constitution, but the complaint was the same: Other religions are treated equally with Christianity! That’s because the constitution did not create a Christian nation, it does not have “biblical origins.” Most of the people in the country may have been Christians, but the document which created the country treats all religions equally.