The political force of America’s enduring self-image as a nation under God, what Lincoln called “this almost-chosen people,” will be my message to that room-full of older progressives when our university short-course wraps up on Feb. 6. Will they get it? Probably not as well as the class of younger conservatives I met with a month ago.
These were a dozen grad students at the John Jay Institute for Faith, Society, and Law in Colorado Springs. Though Jay is sometimes called the forgotten Founder, Kenneth Starr terms him “the father of American conservatism.” Co-author of the Federalist Papers and the nation’s first Chief Justice, he insisted morality and religion were indispensable to ordered liberty. The John Jay Institute insists they still are.
Conducting one-year academic fellowships and a lecture series, the newly-formed institute and its scholarly president, Alan Crippen, are not a militia “waging war against the separation of church and state” as secularists fumed in a Colorado Springs Gazette article on Nov. 11 (reprinted in the Washington Post). They are a voice of reason -- yet politely subversive even so.
Fellow Adrienne Moorehead told the Gazette that natural law, asserted by constitutionalists from Thomas Jefferson to Clarence Thomas, must again have its day. Fellow Brandon Showalter spoke of a career in service to “God’s design for the social order.” Incendiary talk indeed.
George Soros and Tim Gill may call the tune in this election cycle, but soon enough it’s a good bet we’ll be hearing more from Showalter, Moorehead, Crippen, and John Jay.