We ask our CBC Member of the Week, Jacqueline Otto Isaacs, if faith can truly influence our public policy debates in our country. Mrs. Isaacs has been at the intersection of faith and public policy with her work at the American Studies Program, the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, and the American Enterprise Institute. She is also a regular book review contributor for CBC. Read her interesting interview below!
Congratulations Jacqueline on being our Conservative Book Club “Member of the Week!” Tell us a little about yourself and the work you do at the American Studies Program? What’s an average day like for you?
Thank you, Chris! As an alumna of the American Studies Program, I’m honored to serve as the inaugural Fellow in Strategic Communication. After working in marketing communications for several non-profit organizations and earning an MBA with a marketing focus from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, it’s been an exciting new journey to move into a role where I’m teaching strategic communication to college students from around the country.
The American Studies Program is a Washington, DC, semester study program offered through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, where students learn to connect their faith to the institutions and leaders who are impacting issues in public policy and strategic communication.
Every day is a different! Our students have great internships at offices including The Heritage Foundation, congressional offices, the Washington Redskins, and more. When we are in class, our field-work-based activities explore current best practices in communication and take us all around Washington, DC, introducing our students to industry leaders.
What a fascinating program! What got you interested in the work you do?
In recent years, I’ve defended economic freedom with organizations including the American Enterprise Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, defended our Second Amendment freedom with the National Rifle Association, and defended religious freedom and promoted economic education with the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics.
None of this would have been possible without the life-changing experience that I had when I was an undergraduate student at the American Studies Program. ASP places a unique focus on helping students understand their God-given gifts and talents, discover their vocation, and equip them with the professional development skills to excel in the work force.
This fellowship has been a great opportunity for me to participate in this program again, and help another generation of students have their ASP life-changing experience. I can’t wait to see the amazing careers that these students have and the impact they will have on the world!
Having worked at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, and like your new job with the American Studies Program, the focus is on the intersection of faith and public policy. What is your opinion on the role of faith in public policy, or even with matters regarding religious freedom?
As for my own personal faith, I’ve been struck by the Apostle Paul’s statement that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1) I believe that because of this, freedom must be central to a Christians’ view of public policy. Christianity starts with the individual, celebrates the individual’s Imago Dei and opportunity for salvation, and grows outwardly into the public sphere.
While imperfectly, we can emulate God in many ways that benefit those around us. God created everything out of nothing, and we can create economic value out of scarcity. God redeems us from our sins, and we work towards redeeming others from poverty, ignorance, and disease. God respects our freedom, even to reject Him, and we respect the freedom of others.
What books, authors, or conservative-themed books, influenced your political philosophy and outlook on life?
Recently I’ve been studying the concept of conservative – libertarian fusionism, particularly in light of Christian theology. My friend and adopted mentor, Don Devine, wrote a great book that has helped me understand fusionism, America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition, and Constitution. This interest has grown out of my study of human nature, for which all of C.S. Lewis’s fiction and non-fiction is invaluable. In particular, I’d recommend The Abolition of Man.
Tell us a little more about yourself!
Why did you join the Conservative Book Club? How is the user experience beneficial to you?
When I was in the position of promoting books, the Conservative Book Club was a great platform to reach our target audience. Once I became familiar with CBC, I began using it for my own personal reading. I’m always in search of my next book, or five. CBC offers great reviews, interviews, and lists!
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