February 24 2010

Washington Post article
April 25, 1992

Taking Lessons Of Christ, Law to Russia

Va. Lawyer to Host Conference

by Carey Kinsolving

Lauren Homer, a McLean lawyer, is going to Russia this summer to train that country’s lawyers and legal scholars in how the rule of law and inalienable rights can make a difference in a society that has recognized neither for many years.

The Law and Liberty Trust that Homer organized two years ago plans to host a conference on law and business in Moscow. Homer said she expects 150 to 200 Russians from political, business and legal spheres to study with American professionals and teachers.

“Laws are evolved from absolute legal, moral and spiritual principles,” Homer said. “There are certain things that are inviolate.”

Most basic of these principles, Homer says, is inalienable rights, which recognize that all people are created in the image of God. Thus, they deserve equal treatment under the law.

Under Communist rule, Soviet courts carried out what Homer calls “telephone justice.” Judges had special telephones so that Communist Party leaders could call and tell them the party line for any particular case.

In January, Homer spoke at a meeting in what had been an intellectual center for the Communist Party, the Institute for Marxism-Leninism. A senior editor for the former Communist Party historical journal told Homer that the situation in Russia was analogous to what he experienced after World War II, the only difference being that there had been no war.

Homer seized the moment and said, “But there was a war. You couldn’t see it. God was warring on behalf of His people in the Soviet Union. He brought down the entire Communist system so that He could reach the people He wanted to reach.”

Homer said she explained that Jesus Christ came into the world to reconcile people to Himself, and now He was going to be able to do this in Russia.

As Homer passed out Bibles to the group on a second visit, the editor asked her how she became a Christian.

Homer told the Russians that once she too had been an atheist. While taking comparative religion and philosophy courses at Duke University, Homer said, she decided that “Christianity was kind of like belonging to the Girl Scouts.”

Homer graduated from Yale University in 1970 with a master’s degree in city planning. Her first job after graduating at age 24 took her to an affiliate of the Rand Corp., the New York City Rand Institute. “I experienced great success at a very early age,” Homer told the editor.

After working for five years in New York, Homer entered Columbia University Law School. As one of the top students in her class, Homer became managing editor of the Columbia Law Review.

“I sort of wanted to show people that I was really smart,” Homer said. “Some people thought because I was a woman and maybe somewhat attractive that I got to where I was because of my personality.”

Homer’s climb continued when she joined the Wilmer Cutler & Pickering law firm in Washington.

Homer said she thought she had it all. Only a broken romantic relationship in 1982 prompted her to stop and question her achievements.

“I recalled I couldn’t rely on academic and career accomplishments to make me happy,” she said.

“I had reached a point of brokenness where I realized that the message of Christianity – Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – applied to me. Only He could heal the brokenness in my life.”

Homer told the Russians that she accepted Christ as her savior after hearing a sermon on the resurrection at National Presbyterian Church in Northwest Washington. However, she confided to them that she continued to struggle intellectually with “what Christianity was all about.”

A new sense of destiny and direction is the way Homer described her life with Christ. “It’s been the most wonderful, transforming thing in my life,” she said.

At the conclusion of her story, Homer asked if she could pray for her new Russian friends. They nodded. She prayed. “It was a very moving moment,” she said. “Some wept, and others hugged me. Their openness was evident.”

Last year Homer joined the firm of Gammon and Grange in McLean to give her more freedom to work on the Russia project. The firm comprises Christian lawyers who are supportive of Homer’s efforts to change the Russian legal system. One of the firm’s specialties is representing nonprofit corporations such as Christian ministries. The new Russian republic recently granted legal status to one of the Christian organizations that Homer represents.

Working with Homer is Russian scholar Nikita Zagladin, a visiting professor at Yale University. Zagladin is the department head of the Center of Strategic Studies of problems of Russia at the Academy of State Management and chief editor of a newly formed independent political magazine called Centaur.

The magazine’s first issue created no small stir in Russian intellectual circles, Zagladin said in an interview.

The magazine devoted a page to Homer’s Law and Liberty Trust.

It also reprinted an article from a Christian lawyer that discussed the Christian concepts underlying the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s very important what Lauren and her organization are doing, supporting real democratic forces and a real democratic press,” Zagladin said.