Biola sends Christian faculty and students to Washington, D.C.

Biola professors reach Capitol Hill politicians with apologetics while Biolans gain life experience in D.C.

Capitol+Hill+is+one+of+the+places+that+professors+and+students+want+to+reach+as+Biola+spreads+a+Christian+worldview+into+Washington+D.C.+%7C+Amy+Seed%2FTHE+CHIMES
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Biola sends Christian faculty and students to Washington, D.C.

Capitol Hill is one of the places that professors and students want to reach as Biola spreads a Christian worldview into Washington D.C. | Amy Seed/THE CHIMES

Capitol Hill is one of the places that professors and students want to reach as Biola spreads a Christian worldview into Washington D.C. | Amy Seed/THE CHIMES

Capitol Hill is one of the places that professors and students want to reach as Biola spreads a Christian worldview into Washington D.C. | Amy Seed/THE CHIMES

Capitol Hill is one of the places that professors and students want to reach as Biola spreads a Christian worldview into Washington D.C. | Amy Seed/THE CHIMES

Ryan Lunde, Writer

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Capitol Hill is one of the places that professors and students want to reach as Biola spreads a Christian worldview into Washington D.C. | Amy Seed/THE CHIMES

This week, Craig Hazen, director of Biola’s apologetics department, and J.P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy at Talbot, each delivered a lecture in Washington, D.C. pertaining to a range of faith-related issues. The talks were meant to present a Christian worldview to those who work on Capitol Hill.

Apologists on Capitol Hill

“It’s just a great place to give a solid thoughtful Christian talk,” Hazen said. “If you’re making a case for the Christian view of the world in some small slice it really captures their imagination because basically we’re showing them there might very well be a whole invisible world out there that we need to pay more attention to.”

Hazen and Moreland, both outspoken Christian apologists, were invited by Faith and Law, a nonprofit organization which educates congressional staff about the implications of the Christian worldview on politics and law.

“They have a real good reputation on the Hill so they get rooms and crowds and everything else. It’s quite a thing,” said Hazen, who has spoken in Washington, D.C. before. “They don’t publicize it much because they just want to keep their good standing and minister to Christians and non-Christians on Capitol Hill. Really, it’s amazing who shows up at these things.”

Hazen, who usually speaks on the existence of God, finds his background in apologetics has meshed well with his sojourns to Washington, D.C.

“Clearly there is apologetics involved. Anytime you’re talking about thoughtful Christianity it’s almost automatic because in situations like that the biggest obstacle to overcome is that people generally think that if you’re Christian you think there is no real knowledge content,” he said.

Christianity and public policy

While Hazen didn’t advocate overt styles of evangelism, he did suggest his trip was intended to impact those on Capitol Hill to think differently about politics.

“Really, the whole goal there, at least the way I’ve always approached it is go there and attempt to just get them to see things a little bit differently. Especially the non-Christians in the group. The Christians in the group will love it because they don’t really get a chance to hear these kinds of messages,” Hazen said.

While Hazen and Moreland are among the prime examples in Biola’s impact on public-policy, Biola has had other long-standing partnerships with institutions on Capitol Hill.

“I’m convinced Christians need to be a part of public policy making,” said Michael Longinow, professor and chair of the journalism department at Biola. “It’s important for evangelicals to show up at the table of discussion.”

Longinow is no stranger to D.C., in the late 1990s he did research in D.C. for the Lilly Endowment, to see if professors at secular universities held a bias against their Christian students.

“I’m happy Biola’s there. I think that’s Dr. Corey’s vision,” he said.

Sending students to D.C.

Longinow has also partnered Biola journalism students with the Washington Journalism Center, an intensive semester on Capitol Hill which provides professional news experience and mentorship for college students interested in journalism.

Sophomore Christopher Rodriguez, a double political science and philosophy major, is in the process of applying for a similar program through the political science department. The program provides 16 units of upper division credit taught by Christian professionals in Washington D.C.

“The book-learning is one thing, but I would be really interested in actually getting stuff I can put on a resume,” he said. “I’ve always had a hope that I would use law as a platform for going into politics.”

Rodriguez, who was inspired at a young age to become a lawyer by the show “Matlock,” is a southern California native from Yucaipa, California. In spite of what he was familiar with, Rodriguez felt that the reasons to go to D.C. far outweighed the discomforts.

“Definitely the political science major should go. Anything to do with writing or communications would definitely benefit because your getting the holistic view of what you learn and actually seeing professionals do it on the day-to-day basis,” he said.

Rodriguez felt that Christians had a higher standard in the formation of public policy, “The secular person who is doing politics is doing it to better humanity. The Christian is trying to better humanity with the answer. They know what’s good for humanity.”

To Rodriguez it has more to do with good politics than overt proselytizing. “America needs a new idea of what it means to change,” he said. “And not just a new sense of progressivism. We need to learn how to become better in a holistic sense.”