Voices Protesting and Affirming: Engaging the Culture of Law

34 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2011  

Marie A. Failinger

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2004

Abstract

Pursing Walter Brueggemann’s metaphor of religious witness as testimony, and H. Richard Niebuhr’ typology to identify distinct motifs in the engagement of religious cultures their secular counterparts, with the law, the authors argues that Protestants, with all who engage the culture of law, participate in lawmaking out of both memory and hope, reciting the past and telling their story anew, with necessarily diverse voices that give lifeblood to the law. Niebuhr’s motif of Christ transforming culture finds its parallel in the legal impulse toward revolution and radical reform. Niebuhr’s “Christ in culture” motif finds its parallel in the preserving legal impulses such as legislative and bureaucratic action. The witness of Christ against culture in the withdrawal from legal institutions can be seen in the response characterized by conscientious objection and the protest against them in the response characterized by civil disobedience. The witness of Protestant “dualists” is reflected in the religious impulse toward critical advocacy of and engagement in the law.

Keywords: Protestant, culture of law, Niebuhr, Christianity, conversionalists, synthesists, dualists, Yoder

Suggested Citation

Failinger, Marie A., Voices Protesting and Affirming: Engaging the Culture of Law (January 1, 2004). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 1, p. 307, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1936623

Marie A. Failinger (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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