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22 J. L. & Religion 405 (2006-2007)


It is a great honor for me to have been asked to contribute to this issue of the Journal of Law and Religion focusing on the work of my colleague and friend, Robert E. Rodes, Jr. In June 2006, Professor Rodes celebrated his fiftieth anniversary as a member of the faculty of Notre Dame Law School. His long career has marked him as a founding father of interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of faith, law, and morality—the very sort of scholarship which this journal is dedicated to fostering and preserving.

The topics that Professor Rodes has considered over the years are wide-ranging; for example, he has written insightfully on both sexual ethics and economic justice. The methods that he has used are diverse; he has deftly deployed the tools of historiography as well as logic. Moreover, the normative stances that he has taken defy location on the normal liberal/conservative spectrum as it plays itself out in American political life. He has argued in favor of a legal system that would encourage a more traditional sexual morality, while emphasizing the need to compassionately accommodate those whose lives do not conform to its strictures. He has also maintained the importance of assessing social and economic structures from the perspective of the most marginalized members of the society, without succumbing to romantic illusions that technology, progress, or the dynamism of history will eliminate class stratification and its ensuing divisions of humanity into the “haves” and the “have nots.” His writings at the intersection of law and religion reflect neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party at prayer—and neither party at a town hall meeting, for that matter.


Reprinted with permission of Journal of Law and Religion.



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