Center for Law & Culture

The Center At a Glance

Founded by Professor Charles J. Emmerich in 2001, the Center for Law and Culture is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to “Restoring Truth in Law” by raising up virtuous public leaders and citizens in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Through its various educational initiatives, the Center inspires students and other citizens to appreciate and defend the Anglo-American legal tradition, a noble heritage premised upon “higher law” and spanning almost ten centuries. Enshrined in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence, this legal heritage rests upon Judeo-Christian foundations and has produced more liberty, equality and prosperity than any other legal system in human history. Those benefiting from the Center’s programs emerge with boldness to fight for this heritage, and with a vibrant, biblical view about how to effectively glorify God, serve our neighbor, and care for creation in public life.

Mighty Oaks from Seeds

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.  –Latin maxim 

The Olivet-Center Partnership: Restoring Our Noble Legal Heritage

Our legal heritage—the foundational basis for guaranteeing constitutional liberties and protecting free enterprise—has been under assault in American culture for almost a century. Nowhere has this trend been more evident than in education. Since the turmoil of the 1960s and the subsequent cultural shift away from a Judeo-Christian moral consensus, accurate and vital instruction concerning civics, citizenship, and our political-legal heritage has been incrementally removed from education, particularly at the collegiate and graduate levels.

To address this educational gap, Olivet and the Center for Law and Culture entered into a partnership in 2012 to offer the premier “Legal Studies minor” curriculum among the Counsel for Christian Colleges & Universities—designed to inspire virtuous public leadership and citizenship in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Today, ONU houses the Center for Law and Culture on its campus and has implemented its seven-course curriculum.

Motto, Mission & Method

Motto: Restoring Truth in Law 

By restoring a noble legal heritage premised upon “higher law” and enshrined in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence. 

Mission: Inspiring Virtuous Leadership in Public Life by educating students and citizens about our noble legal heritage and its emphasis to glorify God, serve our neighbor, and care for creation in public life. 

Method: Equipping virtuous public leaders and citizens by collaborating with other like-minded institutions and by launching pioneering initiatives in the Judeo-Christian tradition that teach how to effectively engage public life: 

Strategic Collaborations

Partnerships with 16 Christian colleges and universities, and with over 30 non-profit organizations, churches, foundations and businesses.

The “1215 Project

A Legal Studies curriculum at Olivet commemorating Magna Carta (1215), England’s greatest legal document, which features seven courses focusing on the Anglo-American “higher law” tradition and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

Law, Justice and Culture Institute

The flagship course of the 1215 Project, this unique May-term class attracts talented students from around the nation and the world. The Institute inspires faithful service in public life through worldview education in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Students learn about transcendent moral truth and higher law theory by exploring the ancient Hebrews’ conception of law and justice, the natural law roots of the American Republic, and the grand legal issues posed by Nazism and the Nuremberg trial.

Creation Care Program

Held in conjunction with the LJC Institute, this one-day practicum on is taught by Dr. Susan D. Emmerich and features her award-winning Center film, “When Heaven Meets Earth.”

Religious Liberty Initiative

A program providing instruction, resources, and advice on religious freedom issues.

Foundations of Freedom Forums

An initiative featuring short seminars on America’s constitutional heritage and fundamental freedoms for public leaders from various fields.

Making Young Patriots

An initiative offering sessions for young people on the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.

Law & Politics Society

An Olivet student club sponsored by the Center that celebrates our constitutional heritage, prepares students for careers in public life, and facilitates a Mock Trial Team.

Internship Program

An initiative that places talented students in internships at the Center, and in judicial and political settings.

The Legal Studies Minor and The 1215 Project: A Curriculum Restoring Our Legal Heritage

Under the Legal Studies minor, students complete coursework in three areas: foundational courses on the Western legal tradition, focusing in particular on the history of English and American law; elective law-related courses across the curriculum; and, courses designed to foster the academic skills necessary for effective citizenship and careers in public life. Implementation of the minor in 2012 resulted in the addition to Olivet’s curriculum of the seven primary law-related courses now comprising The 1215 Project.

Legal Studies Minor

students in lecture ONU

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