Author: Robert W. Tuttle

Should Chuches Be Tax-Exempt?

[1] In 2002, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was involved in a lawsuit over the “parsonage exemption,” a provision in the federal tax code that allows “Ministers of the Gospel” to exclude from their taxable income the value of a parsonage or other congregation-provided housing allowance.[1] On its own initiative, the federal appellate court hearing […]

A Lutheran Perspective on Teaching Legal Ethics

[1] I have a confession to make. For the past decade, I have been teaching Lutheran ethics to the students of George Washington University Law School. This confession will come as something of a surprise to my students and colleagues. GW is not, after all, a religiously affiliated law school, much less a Lutheran one; […]

Response to Robert Benne on Civil Religion

[1] In his essay, “American Civil Religion: Destructive, Useless, or Beneficial?” (JLE April 2005), Bob Benne offers a spirited defense of the “commonly-shared religious framework” that undergirds, and invites attachment to, the transcendent ideals of American political culture. There is much to admire in Benne’s argument; foremost is his implicit claim that liberal polities need […]

Tuttle on The Promise of Lutheran Ethics

[1] Lutheran theological ethics has often seemed more impoverished than full of promise. Core concepts of the Lutheran tradition – justification by faith, the law-gospel distinction, the so-called “two kingdoms” doctrine, and the concept of vocation – have been read in ways that bifurcate Christian faith from social and personal ethics. Justification is an act […]

Lawyers and Christian Ethics, A Bibliography

Books Adams, George C. A Christian Lawyer: a sketch of the life and work of Hon. Warren Currier. St. Louis: Commercial Print Company, 1893. Adams, George C. The Christian Lawyer: being a portraiture of the life and character of William George Baker. New York: Carlton & Porter, 1858. Allegretti, Joseph G. The Lawyer’s Calling: Christian […]

Whether Lawyers, Too, Can Be Saved

[1] In 1525, Assa von Kram, a professional military officer, asked Martin Luther a question that had been weighing on his conscience: if I want to be a good Christian, do I have to quit my job as a soldier? Assa had good reason to be concerned – didn’t Jesus, after all, say that his […]