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Taking aim on legal profession, she enrolled at Southeastern

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Seven-year-old Christiane kept paddling as the police boat closed in on her inflatable air mattress floating in the ocean.
“Where are you going, child?” asked the rescue worker. Surprised at the question, she said, “I’m going to America, of course.”
The untimely encounter with rescue personnel spoiled Christiane’s third attempt at an ocean voyage from her home in Kortuyk, Belgium, to the shores of the United States thousands of miles away.
Long before she enrolled in the master of divinity program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., Christiane D’Haese-Radano, 45, dreamed of coming to America.
Her ambition was fulfilled after earning a specialized degree in anti-trust law from a university in Brussels. Through the legal profession, Christiane had found her ticket to America.
But something was still missing in her life.
After working as an attorney in Boston, followed by post-graduate work at the University of Virginia, Christiane moved to New York with her husband, Charles. All the while, she said, she was searching for a
peace and contentment she longed for as a child in Belgium.
She began going to church with her husband who was a Christian. “He began taking me to church services in New York City, but I knew nothing of religion,” she said. “I came from a non-believing family who was outraged by the horrors committed by the Catholic Church in Belgium.
In my country, you’re either Catholic or nothing, so we were nothing.”
Several Sunday school classes later, accompanied by three to four hours of Bible reading a day, on top of a regular diet of Christian radio, Christiane accepted Christ.
Following her conversion, she began to look at the legal profession in a different light.
“I didn’t like what was going on in the legal world,” she said. “I didn’t like how lawyers and judges were behaving. I really felt the legal profession had been sold to much darker forces, and it really scared me. That’s not where I wanted to be.”
Rather than declaring the profession a lost cause, Christiane decided to fight back. While searching the Internet for information about how to share Christ with her Jehovah’s Witness neighbors, she stumbled upon several references to a seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
“I had become real interested in learning more about Christ through a master of divinity program, so we visited Southeastern and loved it!”
Now in her third year at Southeastern, she hopes to take her newfound theological knowledge and use it to change the direction of the legal profession and the U.S. court system, starting at the top.
“The (U.S.) Supreme Court and the (U.S.) Court of Appeals base so many of their decisions on polls of public opinion,” she asserted. “If they are trying to decide the legality of physician-assisted suicide and 75 percent of people are in favor of it, that will influence the judges.
Many Christians are in the dark about the issues. There are opinions and ideas all over the newspapers and broadcast media, but it’s only one side. We have to make our position known, too.”
After graduation, Christiane wants to teach future ministers in college or seminary about the importance of legal issues such as the liability associated with counseling, nonprofit organizations, tax information and a Christian’s constitutional rights.
“Ministers need to understand the basics of law and be informed, so when new cases come up they can let their parishioners know and the people can take action,” she said.
Christiane said she would like to work through large Christian organizations to inform the public about everything connecting law and Christianity.
“I think it’s very important to educate Christians about legal issues and what’s going on in the courts,” she said. “The American Civil Liberties Union has bulletins published about what’s going on in the court system. Other liberal organizations know what’s going on and they’re doing everything they can to convince the courts that they are right. We should be doing the same thing.”

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  • Kelli Williams