Cherie Harder and Mark Strand

Civility Is Needed Most When It's Most Difficult

Cherie Harder serves as President of the Trinity Forum. Prior to joining the Trinity Forum in 2008, Ms. Harder served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects for First Lady Laura Bush.

Earlier in her career she served as Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, advising the Leader on domestic social issues and serving as liaison and outreach director to outside groups. From 2001 to 2005, she was Senior Counselor to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, where she helped the Chairman design and launch the We the People initiative to enhance the teaching, study, and understanding of American history. Prior to that Ms. Harder was the Policy Director for Senator Sam Brownback and also served as Deputy Policy Director at Empower America.

Ms. Harder has contributed articles to publications including Policy Review, Human Events, the Harvard Political Review, and various newspapers, as well as a chapter on fashion to the volume Building a Healthy Culture (Eerdmans 2001). Her ghost-written speeches and articles have appeared in Vital Speeches of the Day, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and others.

She holds an Honors B.A. (magna cum laude) in government from Harvard University and a post-graduate diploma in literature from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she was a Rotary Scholar. She serves on the board of Gordon College, the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, and Faith and Law; and on the advisory boards of the National Civic Art Society and the National Museum of American Religion.

Ms. Harder was raised in New Mexico and currently lives in Northern Virginia.

Mark Strand became President of the Congressional Institute in 2007. Founded in 1987, the Congressional Institute is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping Members of Congress better serve their constituents and helping their constituents better understand the operations of the national legislature.

Strand is also an adjunct professor of legislative affairs at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, and the coauthor of the book Surviving Inside Congress. He also writes a blog, The Sausage Factory, that provides an inside look at legislative strategies and procedures (

Strand spent nearly 24 years on Capitol Hill in both the House and the Senate, most recently serving as Chief of Staff to Senator James Talent (R-MO). He served as the Staff Director of the House Committee on Small Business when Talent was Chairman. He was also chief of staff for Reps. Bill Lowery (R-CA) and Stan Parris (R-VA). He has also served as a Legislative Director and a Press Secretary.

During a brief interlude from the Hill from 2001-2002, Strand was Vice-President of Government Affairs for the American Water Works Company – the largest publicly held water utility in the United States.

Strand obtained a master’s in Legislative Affairs from GWU’s Graduate School of Political Management, an M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Phoenix, and was an undergraduate double major in Political Science and History at Excelsior College of the University of New York.

Strand regularly speaks to organizations about how Congress works (or doesn’t). Besides speaking and lecturing on legislative politics, Strand teaches courses on “Surviving Inside Congress” to new Hill staff, government affairs employees and Washington-based diplomats. In addition, he regularly works with Congressional offices on management issues.

Victor Boutros

Slavery’s End:

Why Human Trafficking Thrives and the Path to Freedom

Victor Boutros, Founding Director of The Human Trafficking Institute and co-author of The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence, will discuss the modern day slavery of human trafficking -- why it still exists, and a path to freedom for its victims. 

The Human Trafficking Institute exists to decimate modern slavery at its source by empowering police and prosecutors to stop traffickers. Working inside criminal justice systems, the Institute provides the embedded experts, world-class training, investigative resources, and evidence-based research necessary to free victims.

Mr. Boutros previously served as a federal prosecutor who investigated and tried international human trafficking cases of national significance around the country on behalf of the United States Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. He has taught human trafficking at the FBI Academy in Quantico, trained law enforcement professionals in the United States and other countries on how to investigate and prosecute human trafficking, and taught trial advocacy to lawyers from Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Prior to his work with the Justice Department, Mr. Boutros spent time on similar issues in the developing world. He has worked on improving prison conditions in Ecuador, documented bonded slaves in India, and worked on human trafficking issues as a visiting lawyer with the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa.

Mr. Boutros is a graduate of Baylor University, Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago, where he was as an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and received a grant to research human trafficking as a Human Rights Research Fellow. He has written on foreign affairs and human rights, including a feature article in Foreign Affairsand a piece co-authored with John Richmond in the AntiTrafficking Review, and developed and taught a course on human rights, human trafficking, and rule of law in the developing world at the University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Boutros has spoken to international bodies, legislators, think tanks, universities and professional schools.

Mr. Boutros and his family live in the metro Washington, D.C. area. 

Joe Hartman

Momentous: Key Supreme Court Cases for the 2017-18 Term

"There is only one prediction that is safe about the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous."  

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Dr. Joseph Hartman discussed key Supreme Court cases being considered in the 2017-18 term, especially focusing on those that could have an impact on the Church.  

Dr. Hartman teaches constitutional law in the Georgetown University Department of Government, where he earned his Ph.D. in political theory in 2015. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and spent a decade in the private practice of law in Washington, D.C.

Suzanne Scholte

Suzanne K. Scholte, President of the Defense Forum Foundation, discussed "The Spiritual Struggle over North Korea" and why Christians are called to the battle.

Suzanne K. Scholte is considered one of the world’s leading activist in the North Korea human rights movement having worked for over 18 years to promote the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people. Scholte began a program in 1996 to host the first North Korean defectors in the United States to speak out about the atrocities being committed against the people of North Korea including the political prison camps and the horrific treatment of refugees. She has led international efforts to pressure China to end their horrific repatriation policy and has been involved in the rescue of hundreds of North Koreans escaping from North Korea. Currently, she serves as President of the Defense Forum Foundation; Chairman, North Korea Freedom Coalition; Vice-Chairman, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; and Honorary Chairman, Free North Korea Radio

She is the recipient of the 2008 Seoul Peace Prize Laureate, 2010 Walter Judd Freedom Award, 2013 Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Sungnye Medal from the Republic of Korea, 2014 Sanders Peace and Social Justice Award, and the Volunteer Service (Gold) Award from the President of the United States. She was made an Honorary Citizen of Seoul in 2008. Scholte is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Koshin University.

Joe Loconte

The Luther Option: How Martin Luther's Reformation Transformed the World

In recognition of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Dr. Joseph Loconte addressed Faith & Law on "How Martin Luther's Reformation Transformed the World."  As the lecture title suggests, Loconte gently pushed back against Rod Dreher's "Benedict Option."  One of the first things Luther did as he secured his position in Germany was to abolish all of the monastic orders.  Loconte will explain why Luther chose this course of action.

Joseph Loconte, PhD, is an Associate Professor of History at The King’s College in New York City, where he teaches courses on Western Civilization, American Foreign Policy, and International Human Rights. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918(Harper Collins, 2015) and winner of the 2017 Best Article award from the Tolkien Society for his article How J.R.R. Tolkien Found Mordor on the Western Front.

Dr. Loconte previously served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, where he taught on religion and public policy. He was a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and from 1999-2006 he held the first chair in religion and civil society as the William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Dr. Loconte’s other books include: God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West(Lexington Books, 2014); The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt (Thomas Nelson, 2012); The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); and Seducing the Samaritan: How Government Contracts Are Reshaping Social Services (The Pioneer Institute, 1997).

Dr. Loconte’s commentary on religion and public life appears in the nation’s leading media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the National Interest, the Weekly Standard, and National Review. He is also a regular contributor to the London-based Standpoint and the Huffington Post. For 10 years he served as a commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Dr. Loconte has testified before Congress on international human rights and served as a human rights expert on the 2005 Congressional Task Force on the United Nations, contributing to its final report, “American Interests and U.N. Reform.” From 2001-2003, he was an informal advisor to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. More recently, he was a speechwriter for British MP Andrew Mitchell, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. He now serves as a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum and as an affiliated scholar at the John Jay Institute.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Loconte divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

David Barton

Restoring American Exceptionalism

In this lecture, David Barton will explore the roots of America as the exception rather than the rule among the nations of the world. He states that our exceptionalism encompasses great diversity of race, ethnicity, and religion, and has benefited every American.

Barton asserts that today, American Exceptionalism is no longer understood or venerated. Following several decades of indoctrination in both education and politics, many Americans now seem ashamed of their country and feel compelled to apologize to others for it. He contends that we have been taught America's flaws but little of its matchless benefits.

What produced the blessings we take for granted that so many other nations only dream of? Barton believes the answer is found in five principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence. He argues that if we discover these principles, we will learn what every citizen can do to restore America's greatness.

David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage.

He is the author of numerous best-selling books, with the subjects being drawn largely from his massive library of tens of thousands of original writings from the Founding Era. He also addresses well over 400 groups each year.

His exhaustive research has rendered him an expert in historical and constitutional issues and he serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, was involved in the development of the History/Social Studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.

A national news organization has described him as "America's historian," and Time Magazine called him "a hero to millions - including some powerful politicians. In fact, Time Magazinenamed him as one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals.

David has received numerous national and international awards, including Who's Who in Education, DAR's Medal of Honor, and the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. His work in media has merited several Angel Awards, Telly Awards, and the Dove Foundation Seal of Approval.

David and his wife Cheryl reside in Aledo, Texas, they have three grown, married children (Damaris, Timothy, and Stephen), and three grandchildren.

Jay Richards

Why Machines Won't Replace Us: A Defense of Human Uniqueness

In this lecture, Dr. Jay W. Richards gave highlights from his upcoming book on human uniqueness and the claim that machines will replace us.  He will show how the Christian understanding of the human person helps provide guidance in the debate about artificial intelligence and automation, and how to respond to it.

A thousand futurists predict that in the next few decades, machines will take over even more of our work, leaving mass joblessness in its wake. How should we respond to these claims? It’s true that machines will do many tasks we imagined could only be done by people. But many of these claims are based on a materialistic view of the human person that contradicts both faith and reason.

Dr. Richards argued that we do need to prepare for massive job disruption. And we'll need to adapt by focusing on key virtues that separate man from machine. But machines will never replace us.

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the Executive Editor of The Stream. He is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. He is author of many books including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013), and Indivisible (2012), co-authored with James Robison. He is also the author of Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; and co-author of The Privileged Planet with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez. His most recent book, co-authored with Jonathan Witt, is The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that J.R.R. Tolkien Got and the West Forgot. He has a Ph.D., with honors, in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Bill Haley

The Hill as Your School of Spiritual Formation

The Rev. Bill Haley is Executive Director of Coracle and the Associate Rector at The Falls Church Anglican.  A graduate of Bethel College (1991) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (magna cum laude, 1994), he is an Anglican priest and spiritual director, having completed his training with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (2007). His life has been profoundly shaped by many international experiences, particularly in places of deep brokenness in the world, and he has devoted many years to ministering in urban contexts, especially in inner-city Washington DC. With his wife Tara and four kids, Bill lives at Corhaven in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Since 1996 he has ministered with The Falls Church in a number of different capacities.  Bill was the founding Rector of St. Brendan’s in the City in Washington DC.  He recently served as the Director of Formation for The Washington Institute and  previously served as president of The Regeneration Forum and publisher of re:generation quarterly, a magazine devoted to “community transforming culture”.  He has also served on staff at the Servant Leadership School of Church of the Savior, was a founding board member and then President of the Southeast DC Partners, and is currently a US Trustee of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund and on the Advisory Council for The Telos Group. Because of such diverse experiences in life and around the world, and so many questions to ask, and so many things that matter, Bill’s life has been fired by the phrase “in Christ all things hold together.” He wants to be able to live and say with the same passion of St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, it is Christ who lives in me.”

Bill's publications include articles in The Washington Post,  re:generation quarterly, Prism and Sojourners magazines, Inward/Outward of The Servant Leadership School, The Cry of Word Made Flesh, and with The Washington Institute.   He has compiled several original editions of poetry and prayers. His interests include outdoor sports, especially fly-fishing, the visual arts and music, reading, writing, and long conversations over a good cup of coffee (or wine).

Brian Fikkert

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself

The Bible is quite clear that God has a special concern for people who are poor, and followers of Jesus Christ must show the same concern. We must act. We must do something. But how we go about working with poor people really matters, for good intentions are not enough. It is entirely possible to hurt poor people -- and ourselves -- in the very process of trying to do good. 

 Based on the author's best-selling book,  When Helping Hurts, this presentation explores the key principles for bringing lasting change to low-income individuals and communities.

Michael Wear

How Our Politics is Harming Our Spirit

Michael Wear shares ideas from his recent book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America. He suggests the “state of our politics is a reflection of the state of our souls,” and urges a renewal of Christian intention in public things. 

Michael Wear is the founder of Public Square Strategies LLC, and a leading expert and strategist at the intersection of faith, politics and American public life. As one of President Obama's "ambassadors to America's believers" (Buzzfeed), Michael directed faith outreach for President Obama’s historic 2012 re-election campaign. Michael was also one of the youngest White House staffers in modern American history: he served in the White House faith-based initiative during President Obama’s first term, where he led evangelical outreach and helped manage The White House’s engagement on religious and values issues, including adoption and anti-human trafficking efforts.

Today, Public Square Strategies LLC is a sought-after firm that helps religious organizations, political organizations, businesses and others effectively navigate the rapidly changing American religious and political landscape.

Michael is the author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America. He also writes for The Atlantic, Christianity Today, USA Today, Relevant Magazine and other publications on faith, politics and culture. He serves on the national board of Bethany Christian Services, the nation's largest adoption agency, and holds an honorary position at the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Center for the Public Understanding of Religion. Michael and his wife, Melissa, are both proud natives of Buffalo, New York. They now reside in Washington, D.C.

The Trial and Tribulations of Living an Ethical Life on Capitol Hill

Faith & Law hosted a panel of Capitol Hill Veterans, moderated by John Palafoutas, founder of Faith & Law, to explore the "Trials and Tribulations of Living an Ethical Life on Capitol Hill."  These former senior staffers shared their stories of success and failure as they navigated the ethical waters of the Hill.     

Panelists include:

Arne Christenson, former Chief of Staff to then Speaker Newt Gingrich

Katherine Haley, former Chief Policy Adviser for then Speaker of the House John Boehner

Cherie Harder, former Policy Advisor to then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist

Kerry Knott, former Chief of Staff to then Majority Leader Dick Armey

Former Congressman Joe Pitts

Staying the Course: Stories and Wisdom from 44 Years of Faith in Politics

Congressman Joe Pitts served in the United States House of Representatives for 20 years and before that served for 24 years in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.  He retired in 2017 as a respected statesman known for his strong Christian faith and his commitment to advancing Judeo-Christian values in government and society.  

Joe Pitts now offers his wisdom and experience to the next generation through Asbury University's Joe Pitts Center for Public Affairs.  The Pitts Center is designed to educate, motivate, and launch young, conservative Christians into the field of public service.  It will emphasize three core causes, which are the longstanding passions of Congressman Pitts:  humanitarian relief, human trafficking and religious liberties.

Having served on the frontline of the culture and legislative wars of the last 40 years, Joe has a unique insight into the proper role of Christians in public life and government and how to effectively advocate for our religious freedoms and values.  His views on biblical Christian citizenship and how we, as believers, should engage with our government to protect our rights are desperately needed in this current cultural and political climate.

Dr. Jay Jakub

Jubilee Economics:  A More Complete Form of Capitalism

Dr. Jay Jakub has just released a new book, with Bruno Roche, entitled, "Completing Capitalism: Heal Business to Heal the World."  This work has been hailed as "A major breakthrough on creating an economy that works for all."

Jay is the Senior Director for External Research at Catalyst, serving Catalyst in multiple capacities.  First, he functions as the ‘COO’ of the team, assisting the Managing Director in all facets of management and planning.  In his external research capacity, he line manages those charged with leading Catalyst’s quantitative and qualitative research programs, and he oversees / leads the recruitment and management of the unit’s large and growing stable of multidisciplinary external partners (fellows) from academia, international organizations, NGOs, other think tanks, etc.   Finally, Jay co-manages Catalyst's Mutuality Lab and line manages the director of the Culture Lab.  His doctorate is from Oxford University, St. John's College, and prior to joining Mars Catalyst at the start of 2007, he spent nearly two decades in various government positions in the US executive and legislative branches. He is married to Eleni with whom he has two teenage children.  Jay is based in the Mars, Incorporated global headquarters in McLean, Virginia outside Washington, D.C..

Dr. Kent Hill

The title of this lecture is, "The Future of Christianity in the Middle East and How to Deal with Violent Islamic Extremism."

With massive displacements of Christians in Iraq and Syria, and recent violence against the Copts in Egypt, will Christianity survive in the Middle East? Kent Hill will provide a brief survey of Christianity in the Middle East. Then, with a special focus on what it will take to undermine violent Islamic extremism, he will address how Christians in the west can help. A particular area he will consider is whether the core problem is extremism or Islam itself. Without addressing this issue, Dr. Hill believes a way forward will not be found.  

Kent Hill joined the Religious Freedom Insitute after six years as Senior Vice President at World Vision, one of the largest faith-based relief and development organizations in the world. He also served for eight years as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), responsible for U.S. foreign assistance to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and, subsequently, all USAID health programs worldwide. Earlier in his career, Dr. Hill was President of Eastern Nazarene College, and President of D.C.'s Institute on Religion and Democracy. In 2010, as a Vice President at the John Templeton Foundation, Hill, along with Tom Farr, conceived Georgetown's Religious Freedom Project and secured funding to launch the project. Dr. Hill has published a book on Christianity and the Soviet Union. His Ph.D. is from the University of Washington.

Dr. Daniel Dreisbach

This lecture is entitle, "Character Counts:  The American Founders on Character and Civic Virtue."

Few topics were of greater importance to the American founders than the moral character and civic virtue of both citizens and governors.  Virtue in rulers and the ruled, they believed, was vital to their bold political experiment in republican self-government.  The founding generation looked to the Bible for insights into the characteristics of a righteous ruler and guidance on how to nurture virtue in both rulers and the ruled.  This talk will consider the place of the Bible in the founders' political thought, especially how the Bible informed their views on the characteristics and qualifications of a righteous political leader.

Daniel L. Dreisbach is a professor at American University in Washington, D.C.  He earned a D.Phil. degree from Oxford University and a J.D. degree from the University of Virginia.  He has authored or edited ten books, including most recently Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers (Oxford University Press, 2017).  He is a past recipient of American University's highest faculty award, "Scholar/Teacher of the Year."

Former Congressman Frank Wolf

Congressman Frank Wolf is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.  He was elected to Congress in 1981 and served Virginia’s 10th District for 17 terms.  Wolf authored the International Religious Freedom Act and legislation to create a U.S. State Department special envoy to advocate for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.  The founder and co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Wolf’s honors include the 2015 Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor University, the Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview’s William Wilberforce Award.

Mindy Belz

As the editor of World magazine and writer for the publication since 1986, Mindy has covered war in the Balkans, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan and has given on-the-ground news coverage from Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, and elsewhere. Her reporting has been published in the United States and overseas and been featured in publications such as The Weekly Standard. Mindy has appeared on national television and radio talk shows and speaks frequently about persecution and survival in the Middle East. Belz and her husband have four children and live in Asheville, NC.

Dr. Calvin Beisner

Caring for Creation, Caring for the Poor: A Biblical, Scientific, and Economic Perspective on Climate and Energy Policy.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and an author and speaker on the application of the biblical world view, theology, and ethics to economics, government, and environmental policy. He has testified as an expert witness on the ethics and economics of climate and energy policy before congressional committees, delivered a paper on the subject for the Pontifical Institute for Justice and Peace, and lectured on it for five of the International Conferences on Climate Change. He has published over ten books and hundreds of articles, contributed to or edited dozens of others, and been a guest on television and radio programs. A former seminary and Christian college professor and church planter, he has spoken to churches, universities, conferences, and other groups around the country for nearly thirty years.

Os Guinness

Os Guinness is an author and social critic. Great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer, he was born in China in World War Two where his parents were medical missionaries. A witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949, he was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to Europe where he was educated in England. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of London and his D.Phil in the social sciences from Oriel College, Oxford.

Os has written or edited more than thirty books, including The CallTime for Truth, Long Journey Home, Unspeakable, A Free People’s Suicide, The Global Public Square, and Renaissance. His latest book is Fool’s Talk – The Recovery of Christian Persuasion, which was published by InterVarsity Press in June, 2015.

Before moving to the United States in 1984, Os was a freelance reporter with the BBC. Since then he has been a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies, a Guest Scholar and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum and the EastWest Institute in New York. From 1986 to 1989, Os served as Executive Director of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation, a bicentennial celebration of the First Amendment. In this position he helped to draft “The Williamsburg Charter” and later “The Global Charter of Conscience,” which was published at the European Union Parliament in 2012. Os has spoken at dozens of the world’s major universities, and spoken widely to political and business conferences on many issues, including religious freedom, across the world. He is currently a senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics in Oxford, though he still lives with his wife Jenny in the Washington, DC, area.