RSG Newsletter

February 2015
Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

I recently attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington,D.C. This non-partisan event called for prayer for our leaders, our nation, and our world. I sat with individuals from Libya, Switzerland, Norway, and Pakistan, all of whom were impressed by the lived religious liberty of our populace. Moreover, this event and two earlier in the week reminded me of the potential for divine intervention when it comes to forgiveness and reconciliation.

Our RSG Up to Us Team is raising awareness about the national debt as part of a national competition sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative. Please sign their petition here on Facebook, asking that Congress take action so that this generation of students is not saddled with a crippling national debt like those of Greece, Spain, and elsewhere.

Finally, in this edition of our newsletter you will meet my friend Rick Love of Peace Catalyst International and you can read about our dialogue regarding Christian resources for reconciliation and forgiveness in conflict zones. You will meet alumni Justin Murff, current student Michael Lewis, and see a video on James Madison by Professor Jeffry Morrison.

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
Robertson School of Government

Watch the "Get to Know RSG" video.

Read more about RSG alumni.

For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.

Back to top

Faculty Story: Dr. Jeffry Morrison - Religion and the States
Featured Faculty Video

In January 2015 the federal government’s James Madison Foundation ( produced the first installments in its video library of “Constitutional Conversations” with leading academics. Dr. Jeffry Morrison, Professor of Government in RSG and the Foundation’s Director of Academics, is featured in the first videos, speaking on several topics related to “Religion and American Constitutionalism.” The videos are available on YouTube and on the Foundation’s website. Watch a 5-minute example by Dr. Morrison on “Religion and the States.”

Student Story:

Michael Lewis: Lobbying in Richmond

Michael Lewis

Same-sex marriage and abortion are the kind of controversial topics RSG student Michael Lewis confronts daily as a lobbyist advocating for pro-family and pro-life issues.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, Lewis is an associate director of the Virginia Catholic Conference. “I represent the public policy interests of Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo (Diocese of Richmond) and Bishop Paul S. Loverde (Diocese of Arlington) before the Virginia General Assembly, the United States Congress, and federal agencies,” says Lewis.

“My work as a lobbyist in Richmond makes for some interesting days at the office. There is never a dull moment, and I thrive on the short legislative session,” remarks Lewis. “The opportunity to influence public policy for the common good is a privilege, and I truly enjoy the ability to see representative democracy in action every day.”

Lewis previously worked in the North Carolina State Senate and on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

When Lewis began exploring options to earn a graduate degree, his first exposure to Regent University came through networking with an RSG alum. “My colleague put me in touch with RSG Professor James Davids, who encouraged me to apply, guided me through the admissions process, and is now a trusted mentor and advisor of mine,” says Lewis. Lewis and his wife were impressed with the opportunities Regent University offered.

Michael and Kim Lewis attended The Stand and Pray for Marriage Rally held on May 13, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.

“The sense of community here makes Regent special. Even as an online student, the professors take a genuine interest in getting to know each student and nurture their talents as well as their intellectual and spiritual growth,” says Lewis. “Because Richmond is only a short drive from campus, I am able to come down frequently for campus events and lectures. Last fall, my wife and I were able to enjoy dinner with distinguished professor and former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft which included a discussion about politics and current affairs. I was also able to attend a lecture by United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia held on campus.”

Lewis is quick to confess that juggling a full-time job and classes has been challenging. “It has really made me learn to manage my time well each week.”

However, born with mild cerebral palsy, which affects his speech, hearing, and fine motor skills, Lewis is no stranger to life challenges.

“My special needs required me to self-advocate from an early age, and I credit my wonderful family for instilling in me the values of hard work, perseverance and faith in God,” reflects Lewis. “My life experiences helped shape my passion for policy and advocacy, and I am privileged to be a voice for others in my career as a lobbyist advocating for legislation that upholds the dignity of human life, family, and those less fortunate.”

Alumni Story:

Justin Murff – Funding the Work

Justin Murff

Prior to coming to Regent, Justin Murff worked as a vice president/general manager for a television network, was active in local and international politics, and served as chairman for Republicans Abroad in Vienna, Austria.

But when the time came for him to further his education, Murff wanted a university that would provide him with an excellent education in international relations and public administration and held the traditional values founded in a Judeo-Christian worldview.

"I always wanted a graduate degree, but I wanted to attend an institution that was Christ-centered with the highest academic standards and provided an opportunity to learn from respected professionals with real-world experience. Regent University, specifically the Robertson School of Government provided everything I was looking for in a graduate school," says Murff.

Seeking to earn a Master of Art in Government with a focus on International Relations, Murff applied and was accepted into the Robertson School of Government. Impressed with the Public Administration track, Justin graduated with RSG in 2014.

"Writing the thesis was the most challenging part of my journey but was very rewarding," reflects Murff. "The RSG faculty expect excellence; they teach you to demand the same of yourself," says Murff.

Professionally, Murff serves as the grants and foundations manager for the Christian Broadcasting Network working with foundations to partner with CBN operations around the world. CBN currently reaches 138 countries, in 39 languages. Murff is also a faculty member of the Leadership Institute located in the nation's capital.

"Every day I am working with leaders from around the world. RSG taught me how to manage these high level relationships," says Murff.

Murff also serves on the planning committee for the World Congress of Families and is a member of the Royal Society for International Affairs in London, England. "Only Regent could prepare me to fulfill the calling the Lord has for me," says Murff.

"If you're serious about serving in government or in the non-profit sector, there is no better place to be equipped than the Robertson School of Government at Regent University."

Justin's wife Jennifer is a Regent University graduate (School of Business & Leadership '12) and is currently working on her Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree. They have four daughters and live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Back to top

Recent Events

RSG Students Compete to Raise National Debt Awareness

Eighteen trillion. It's a number that's difficult for many to comprehend, but a group of Robertson School of Government (RSG) students are kicking off a campaign to keep that dollar amount at the forefront of discussion. It is the lump sum the United States federal government owes to its creditors. While RSG M.A. in Government students Chase Bond, Juliana Melton, Jonathan Lantz, Chip Harrell, Paul Bayer and Linda Waits-Kamau aren't able to write a check to cover this cost, they are competing with student teams from Yale, Georgetown, Northwestern and other universities to promote awareness of the national debt crisis. You can help them win by signing their Facebook petition to Congress HERE by midnight February 12.

These RSG students are launching the "It's-Up-to-Us Regent National Debt Crisis Campaign." It's their attempt to educate students and the public about the risks associated with owing $18 trillion, and also provide perspectives on what can be done to reduce the debt. They're inviting Regent students to sign a petition and will be offering Regent students, staff, alumni and guests a free panel seminar about the costly conundrum at a town hall and lunch on Feb. 12 at 11:45 a.m. in Robertson Hall Room 114.

"Our goal is to encourage further personal and elected official action toward fiscal responsibility and financial stability to avert the national debt crisis," said Bond. "To accomplish this, our team is sponsoring a free seminar with lunch where a distinguished panel will discuss how we should approach this crisis and answer questions from the audience."

The event on Feb. 12 in Robertson Hall is dubbed as "My Two Cents Day." Doors will open at 11:45 a.m. when lunch will be served and Town Hall will conclude by 1:15 p.m. to be followed by an optional Debt Finance mini-seminar until 2 p.m. Dr. Patterson, RSG’s dean, will be moderating the panel. Its members include Joseph E. Bond, senior vice president of Asset Liability Group for BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., Admiral William McCarthy (Ret. U.S. Navy), and Dr. Gary Oster, professor of Economics in Regent's School of Business & Leadership.

“The national debt has a crippling effect on our future,” says RSG Dean Eric Patterson. “I am delighted that Regent University is fielding a team in this competition.”

Regent's "It's Up-to-Us" team orchestrated the Town Hall and free lunch as part of a competition for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Similar events will be held at 44 schools across the country during “My Two Cents Day” on Feb. 12. Regent’s Up-to-Us team is asking students and the public to lead them onto victory by signing a petition on Facebook for U.S. leaders to address the national debt crisis, as well as to “like” the Regent Up-to-Us team’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter to receive information and articles about the national debt crisis.

Signing the petition is key to winning this national competition. Everyone is encouraged to also visit the Regent team’s Up-to-Us table in Robertson Hall Lobby starting Thursday, Jan. 29, to sign the National Debt Crisis petition and learn more about the National Debt Campaign. The competition will conclude February 12. President Bill Clinton will recognize the winning team at a CGI event at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida on March 6 to 8. The team will also receive $10,000. This is the third year the CGI is sponsoring the competition along with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and this is the first year that a Regent team is competing.


Keeping a High Profile

Regent University’s mission is to serve as a center of Christian thought and action. The school’s motto, Christian Leadership to Change the World , reflects a deep desire to profoundly impact lives around the globe.

One of the best ways to equip students to become distinctive influencers is by exposing them to prominent men and women who model true servant leadership in the fields of business, entertainment, law, medicine, politics, religion and other significant areas.



War & Peace: Challenges of Christian Peacemaking

Dr. Rick Love of Peace Catalyst

On paper, the Bible instructs Christians to be peacemakers. How that translates into thought and action is a continuing debate among evangelicals. Dr. Eric Patterson, Robertson School of Government (RSG) dean and guest speaker Dr. Rick Love from Peace Catalyst International hashed out the issue in Robertson Hall Monday, Feb. 2. Both provided their perspectives of how Christians can best work to build peace during times of war. Both have authored books about this topic and shared their experiences working across divided communities.

"You will see that faith-based actors, religious leaders and clerics are most effective in efforts before and after a war, especially when it comes to providing valuable services, meeting human needs, and working toward reconciliation and forgiveness," said Patterson. "In contrast, the evidence is pretty thin that many contemporary wars actually stopped due to religious people grandstanding about peace after the bullets started flying."

Love and Patterson took different approaches, but did not disagree. Patterson, a well-known scholar of just war theory, argued that Christ's redemption works best on a personal level, inspiring interpersonal forgiveness. However, he argued, it is very difficult for governments to have that same kind of reconciliation following a bloody war. Patterson further discussed the idea that Christians can be agents of peace by fulfilling the calling of Romans 13, as police officers and military personnel dedicated to protect the weak, right past wrongs, and punish wrongdoers.

"[Christians] are most likely to have an impact on efforts of reconciliation. We all believe as Christians that the Lord can do something supernaturally to change peoples' hearts for forgiveness. I think that's extremely difficult in international politics, but at the individual level, the Lord does that."

Dr. Love spoke next, telling stories of how his organization, Peace Catalyst International, engages in such peacemaking efforts on individual levels. He identified himself as a "Great Commission Christian" who has worked for 35 years to build bridges between Muslims and Christians and get mosques and churches together.

Dr. Joseph Umidi, Dean, School of Divinity, Dr. Rick Love, President, Peace Catalyst International and Dr. Eric Patterson, Dean, Robertson School of Government.

"Jesus taught and modeled both exclusive truth claims and inclusive love aims," said Love. "Jesus was known as a teacher of truth and a friend of sinners. He hung out with the marginalized. He broke bread with the marginalized. He accepted and protected a woman caught in adultery. These are amazing examples of teaching love of neighbor and love of enemy."

Love cited Romans 12:18 to describe his view of peacemaking. It states "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone." He acknowledged that peacemakers aren't always peace achievers, that it takes two sides to reconcile, but argued that Christians are to be peacemakers through their personal networks and by influencing their governments.

"I think the challenge for us in the future is how can the church, how can followers of Jesus, partner with the military, partner with the government to work toward peace," said Love. "How are you implementing peace? You have a network. God has given you a sphere of influence. May I encourage you to move forward in that? You need to find Muslim peacemakers and partner with them for the sake of peace."

RSG and Regent’s School of Divinity sponsored Love's visit to campus, which included a breakfast with student leaders and faculty. After the discussion he met with students and signed copies of his book "Peace Catalyst."

Learn more about RSG.


2015 Ronald Reagan Symposium

Friday, March 20, 2015
Regent University Campus - Main Theatre
View more information and register



Upcoming Events

Up to Us Campaign
Thursday, February 12, 2015

How to Secure a Government Job
Friday, February 27, 2015

Regent Preview
Saturday, February 28, 2015

RSG MPA Model Job Quest
Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spring Policy Briefing with Admiral Vern Clark
Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 Reagan Symposium
Friday, March 20, 2015
Regent University Campus - Main Theatre
View more information and register

Ethics, Media & Culture Conference: "Religious Freedom and Terrorism"
Friday, April 10 - Saturday, April 11, 2015
Regent University
View more information and register

Back to top

Newsletter Archives