The Erosion of Common Law

It was just yesterday that I was lecturing on the relationship between Christianity and culture, and I was making the point that western civilization has in large measure been shaped by the influence of Christian principles. In particular, I mentioned the centuries of legal precedent known as the Western Legal Tradition. I argued that not only do we have an obligation as Christians to positively be the "light of the world," as Jesus puts it, but also to be the "salt of the earth." Salt is a preservative, and so I suggested that we also need to preserve the cultural goods already produced by Christian cultural engagement in times past.

In making this argument I mentioned the worldview that accords to human beings an inherent, inalienable dignity and freedom. Lo and behold, we find today that this very dignity and freedom, bequeathed to us explicitly by English Common Law, is being substantially eroded. Part of cultural engagement is to resist this erosion. It seems to me that protecting the 4th Amendment to our Constitution is a worthy endeavor, and I'm thankful for those who are engaged in the matter.

Brian Mattson