By JOHN FORTMEYER
Followers of Christ must individually determine their best path to respond to the many challenges today to their faith, the leader of thousands of America’s Christian lawyers said during his first-ever Oregon visit last month.
“Come out, focus and engage,” David Nammo of Virginia, executive director of the Christian Legal Society, said in an interview with Christian News Northwest. “Find out where God is calling you.”
In the case of Nammo, his calling is to encourage and inform attorneys throughout the nation who are fighting multiple legal battles to defend traditional religious freedoms. Founded in 1961. the society assists lawyers and law students “to proclaim, love and serve Jesus Christ through the study and practice of law.” Nammo said it has about 2,000 paying members nationally, but a mailing list reaching as many as 15,000 to 20,000.
Nammo was in Oregon from Nov. 6 to 11. While here he spoke at a gathering at Mission Increase Foundation near Portland, visited Willamette University School of Law in Salem, also met with law students from the University of Oregon and Lewis & Clark College, and was featured at a special event at Salem Evangelical Church.
Nammo was particularly struck by the large turnout at the Salem church, numbering several hundred people on a Monday evening. “People are engaged. They are concerned and care,” he said.
By coincidence, Nammo’s visit coincided with last month’s public hearing in Salem regarding an Oregon judge facing charges of ethics violations. Marion County Circuit Judge Vance Day is under scrutiny by the Oregon Commission of Judicial Fitness and Disability; those who support Day charge that the judge, a devout Christian, is being targeted largely because of his refusal to perform same-sex marriages.
Nammo briefly attended the hearing, and said Day also was present at the Salem church event and was the focus of special prayer there. But Nammo said he couldn’t say for sure, as some contend, that the state probe was prompted by Day’s controversial stance on marriage.
“It may have been the lynchpin — the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Nammo said.
Acknowledging that “there are so many fires” that Christian lawyers are figuratively trying to put out nationally, Nammo said it is a result of a rapidly changing culture that requires people of faith to stand firm for their beliefs.
“The days of nominal Christianity are over,” he said. “And I’m OK with that. We have to stop looking for Mayberry.”
Fundamentally, the legal wars are a spiritual battle and it is important for today’s Christians to let Jesus be Lord in every area of their lives, he said. Nammo said quite a few lawyer ask him what is the best way to apply their faith in their work.
“I have the worst answer — ‘I don’t know.’ But I tell them that God has something for them,” he said.
By JOHN FORTMEYER