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Devout Defender of the First Amendment


ake a quick look at College of Law Professor Steven Green’s genealogy and you will no doubt conclude he is the black sheep of the family. Green comes from a long line of clergyman that includes his father, brother, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather. Although the associate professor of law did

not directly choose a life of religious service, his career has kept him deeply embedded in family tradition. Green has remained true to his Baptist roots — and stayed in the good graces of his family — by working to safeguard religious freedom in the U.S. and preserve the separation of church and state. Green said he believes the government should remain neutral on religious questions, leaving issues of God, faith and worship to be decided by individual citizens. “Separation of church and state is good for both religion and government,” he explained. “I believe strongly that government use of religion tends to degrade religion. The division of church and state provides protection to both institutions.”

“I never thought I’d be a lawyer,” Green said. “But law school is a great foundation for public policy work.” As such, he followed a somewhat circuitous route to his legal career. After earning his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Green went on to pursue his interests in “the intersection of religion, law and government” by earning a master’s degree in religious studies and a doctorate in American constitutional 13

Willamette Lawyer | Fall 2005 • Vol. V, No. 2  
Willamette Lawyer | Fall 2005 • Vol. V, No. 2  

Willamette’s Pioneering Law and Government Program