Constitution Expert John Inazu Visits Dordt College for the First Monday Speaker Series

Inazu, professor at Washington University in St. Louis, gave an inspiring message to Dordt’s community.

Sioux Center, Iowa: On Monday, November 6, John Inazu—law professor and expert in First Amendment freedoms—came to speak at Dordt College. He visited for Dordt’s First Monday Speaker Series: a program that brings distinguished scholars and cultural leaders to Dordt to pursue the common good in society and the church.

Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion and Professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. He has written two books on civil practice, as well as articles for a variety of mainstream audiences.

Students, faculty, and community members alike filled the B.J. Haan to hear Inazu’s morning talk: “Confident Pluralism.” In a timely message, Inazu described a powerful vision for the role of the church in modern-day America. Our society’s deep differences—whether about politics, religion, or sexuality—can challenge our constitutional hope of being one united nation. How then, Inazu asked, can we live together in harmony, while still holding firmly to our deepest commitments? How do we create space for one another’s arguments, so that all can be fully heard?

The solution, according to Inazu, is to adopt a “confident pluralism.” “Confident” means that we are committed to our own beliefs; “pluralism” means that we also allow genuine differences to coexist. This enables us to hold firmly to both our constitutional beliefs (about freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion) and our Christian values. But to attain this common ground requires humility and patience.

“I have confidence in the people of this country,” Inazu said to his audience at Dordt. “The American experiment is about finding modest unity at great odds. And Christians should be able to pursue confident pluralism—to engage in this messy and uncertain world—because we know the end of the story.”

Dordt’s First Mondays Speaker Series is designed to enrich the academic experience and promote Dordt's mission: equipping students, alumni, and the broader community to effect Christ-centered renewal in everyday life. The guest speaker for February 5 is Tish Harrison Warren, author of Liturgy of the Ordinary, of which James K.A. Smith writes, “This marvelous little book is that certain slant of light that illuminates the everyday as an arena of sanctification.” On April 2, the college will host Josh Larsen—film critic, writer (Movies Are Prayers) and co-host of the Filmspotting podcast.

For more information, visit https://www.dordt.edu/events/first-mondays-speaker-series.