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We handle cases across the United States. Allen Stewart is licensed to practice law in Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona.

Jesus, Justice and American Christianity

Jesus and I have known each other for a while. Of course, because He is God, He knew me before I knew Him. Nevertheless, my entire adult life has found me calling Him Master and brother, Savior and friend. But unlike many evangelicals, I find Jesus compelling me to chart a course counter to conventional Christian branding. My secular friends consider me conservative. My religious friends consider me liberal. But what interests me most is what God considers me. It is the pursuit of this passion that has changed my mind and heart in many ways over the years.

Before attending law school, I thought I understood American government. I could easily name and describe in detail the branches of our government and how they related to one another. Likewise, I had a firm grip on Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments. I have lost count of how many times I have read the Bible. And during adulthood I have read Scripture with a follower’s eye, believing God expects me to reconcile my life to its mandates rather than twist its words to fit my selfish desires.

When I began studying law, I noticed that many Supreme Court cases seemed result driven. Put differently, it appeared the Justices knew the outcome they truly wanted and then the majority opinion simply structured the tenor of its text to justify a pre-determined end. This same scenario exists in the Christian life. Many professed believers read the Scripture with a predetermined end in mind. Thus, Scripture rarely changes them deeply. Instead, these believers seek scriptural word patterns to justify themselves to themselves and to others. This dangerous practice creates Christians congregated around conventionally popular ideas easily achieved without true sacrifice.

It is popular to appear patriotic and conform to conventional religious and political norms. But that is not the calling of a Jesus follower. We are to protect the weak and defenseless. Sometimes the government exploits the weak. Sometimes corporate interests influence the government to gain unfair advantage over others. Too often, Christians spend their lives looking upright while apathetically looking away from those in their midst that prey on the weak and powerless. My legal experience has now taught me that, before law school, I knew nothing of practical importance about government. The sanitized textbook version of our political system can sound sacred. The true reality, however, involves powerful people influencing every branch of government to promote themselves remaining rich and powerful at the expense of others in greater need.

American Christianity believes the American political system treats their faith and its followers unfairly.

They view the system as overrun with secular values that trample the Gospel. Yet I see a far different system. People claiming Christ as important have effectively run our governmental system since its inception. Most of those leaders have served the principal end of capitalism first and have left Jesus’ commands as token platitudes. And the Christian community has endorsed this “money first” ideal. For example, why in a country that has more than 100 million self-proclaimed Christians do we so struggle with providing one another health care—the very essence of the Good Samaritan? Is it because those labeling themselves Christians have forgotten that Jesus calls us to sacrifice for our neighbor?  Remember, Jesus defines neighbor so broadly it includes those we think the least of.

I am often asked how I can be a Christian and a lawyer. The answer is simple. It is God’s calling on my life. With my law license I engage our governing system for those without resources. It is often unpopular. Yet it is the modern means of standing up for the widow and the orphan and the alien among us. And in this the Gospel resides.

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.[1]

[1] I John 4:19-21 (NIV)

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