How to Love Your Neighbor in the Public Square

Jane Cho

Session 1A, 11:20am, Room 114

Download: Podcast, Slides


The phrase “separation of church and state” to us sounds like an anti-Christian refrain, but it was actually intended from the founding as a way to preserve religious liberty and purity. A landmark case in this area is 1947 Everson v Board of Education, where the First Amendment Establishment Clause was expanded to apply to the states and sparked the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This concept is illustrated in recent religious freedom cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s abortion/contraception mandate. These controversies compel us to ask, “What is the ideal balance between church and state? Is it possible as Christians to hold certain views about personal morality but settle on a common norm with other Americans with different worldviews? What is Christian love as expressed through our politics?”


After finishing my first year at Stanford Law School in early June, I spent two weeks at a Christian legal summer program called Blackstone Legal Fellowship. Forty speakers – law professors, veteran attorneys, and ministers – covered various topics on law and faith. On a more personal level, I have spent many years contemplating the intersection of my faith with law and policy. I believe that God has led me to this career in public interest law, and the two are intimately connected. In addition to the lessons from Blackstone, I will be presenting from my own experiences and opinions about how to approach the law as a Christian.

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