Honors Program Students Discuss Faith and Public Service with Attorney General John Ashcroft
Students in Regent University’s undergraduate Honors Program participate in special activities to enhance their learning experience. Tuesday, February 7, they had the privilege of spending time with former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has served as a distinguished professor of law and government at Regent for over a dozen years. Ashcroft spoke about the importance of leading by example as well as modeling one’s life after Jesus.
“I appreciate how much wisdom he (Ashcroft) has, how deeply he thinks about issues, and how he made principled policy decisions without imposing his religious views on others,” said Ginger South ’20 (CAS). “Opportunities like this give us excellent experience in a professional atmosphere and prepare us for our future careers.”
Ashcroft commended Regent for emphasizing a three-dimensional view of human beings, recognizing that we are not just mind and muscle, but spirit as well. He encouraged students to live out their faith in actions.
“As a person of faith, people feared that I was going into government to force people into a position of congruity with my beliefs,” said Ashcroft. “It is a strongly-held proposition of mine that it is against my religion to impose my religion. Religion is not a matter of imposition, but of inspiration. You can live in a way that causes people to see your testimony.”
Ashcroft also clarified the difference between democracy and liberty pointing out that liberty is an outcome, something for which we should strive. Democracy is a process that may or may not result in liberty.
In his concluding remarks, Ashcroft explained that, when faced with opposition, regardless of the context, listening to the other side can go a long way.
“I think that a listening, discussion format is often better than a speaking, preaching format,” said Ashcroft. “That’s good advice whether it’s about spiritual or other matters. Candor is important, but silence can be important too.”
He encouraged students to follow God’s calling in all matters, noting that integrity, fidelity, industry, generosity, forgiveness, and reconciliation constitute a calling that is broader than any specific vocation.
The students were extremely grateful for their time with Ashcroft.