Post by: Nathan Moelker
My name is Nathan Moelker, I am a 1L here at Regent Law, and this is my first semester with the Center for Global Justice. This semester I have been engaged in researching international law concerning the wearing of religious clothing and symbols for Canada’s Christian Legal Fellowship. This is in relation to Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans religious symbols of any kind for certain public workers, including government lawyers. As someone new to the process of international research, this work has been largely a dive into the deep end, with new and exciting challenges in translation and location every day, new hurdles to learn how to strive to reach. I am particularly thankful for the way this project has helped me to develop a more global understanding of the needs of justice.
The tendency of many of us in the United States, and perhaps other Western nations, is to think of issues of personal liberty and religious liberty as if most of the world has the matter figured out, and a few “bad” countries, like North Korea, are engaged in violations of these universally known truths. While the evil those “bad” countries do should never be minimized, the truth is far less simple or easy. The sad fact of the matter, as I have been increasingly uncovering through research throughout the world, is that no country is as effective as it should be in protecting fundamental rights, particularly religious rights. The task of religious liberty litigation so often tends to be matter of comparing whichever country is doing worse, rather than seeking to hold countries to objective standards.
The answer to this problem is not to descend into despair that religious liberty could be defended at all. Our responsibility, rather, is two-fold. We must first never fall into an uneasy contentment with the status quo, as if we’ve got it all figured out just because we’re no worse then some other place. We must rather continue to strive with a wholehearted and whole minded devotion to the truths of God, that all men and women are created equal with undeniable rights, rooted in their creation. The standard is not the decisions of the EU or the UN or the Supreme Court of this Country or any other. Our obligation is to fly the standard of justice high with unfaltering resolve, though all the rest of the world refuses to fly it in the interests of their police powers. G. K. Chesterton articulated this call to action, “For our Titanic purposes of faith and revolution, what we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as a compromise, but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it. We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment; we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent. We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return at evening.” (Chesterton, Orthodoxy Chapter 5)
Our responsibility is to lovingly and graciously refuse to ever compromise anything, no matter how legitimate it may seem, in the cause of righteousness. This high and mighty task is one that every lawyer, whether engaged in Religious liberty or not, cannot waive away, but must pursue with a wholehearted commitment.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.