Grove City College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 was honored this week with the Charles Colson Award for Public Service from Faith and Law, a Washington, D.C., ministry he co-founded 40 years ago.
Faith & Law is a community of congressional staffers and Members of Congress that meets regularly to think deeply about how faith informs and impacts their calling to the public square and to hear distinguished speakers and thinkers address contemporary political and cultural issues.
The group’s mission is to encourage and equip Christian policymakers to understand the Biblical worldview and its implication more fully in their calling to public service and help shape future leaders. Colson Award winners exemplify the group’s mission and have had a significant influence advancing its principles of integrating a biblical worldview with their service to the nation.
Before becoming the College’s president, McNulty served as Deputy U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Attorney, and was a senior attorney in the U.S. Congress. He also worked in private practice, leading the global corporate compliance and investigations practice for Baker McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms.
Accepting the award this week at Faith and Law’s 40th Anniversary Evening Forum in Washington, McNulty talked about the genesis of Faith and Law.
In 1983, fresh out of law school, McNulty secured a job as a staff lawyer for the House Ethics Committee. “I was a Christian and I wanted to work in Washington because I wanted to understand how Christians can make a difference in public policy,” he said.
He soon started Faith and Law with John Palafoutas, an ordained minister and Congressional staffer who shared McNulty’s Christian worldview and desire to study “what it means to be a Christian in public life,” McNulty said. “So, it started that simply. Two guys who wanted to read and think and we invited others, and it grew, and it grew.”
Proof of Faith and Law’s success, he said, can be found in the many it has helped understand “how to think as Christians and how to act as Christians” in public service. Participants have gone on to become members of Congress and the cabinet, journalists, CEOs, a governor, and have enjoyed impactful careers across government and business.
Palafoutas, retired after a long career in government and business, also received a Colson Award at the 40th Evening Forum. He is chairman of Faith & Life’s board of directors.
Past winners of the Charles Colson Award for Public Service include Sen. Tim Scott; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers; Sen. James Lankford; Os and Jenny Guinness; Michael Cromartie; former senator Ben Sasse and Melissa Sasse; former senator and governor of Kansas Sam Brownback; and former representatives Joe Pitts and Frank Wolf.