Our Threatened Freedom

Is There A New Definition For Delinquency? (04:09)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 Is there a new definition for delinquency? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:08 Earlier this year I was a witness in a trial in a Midwestern state. On trial were some children of Mennonite families from the Old Order of Mennonites. They were on trial as juvenile delinquents, although none of them had committed a single criminal offense. Their only crime was attendance at a Mennonite school. The school refused to submit to state controls which they rightly believed were a humanistic and alien to their faith. As a result, the children were in court as juvenile delinquents, there so-called crime was truancy.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:46 The defense attorney asked for a dismissal of the charges on the grounds that the state law did not define truancy as absence from a state school or a state-controlled or state-approved school, but simply as truancy from school. Clearly, the children had not been truant from the Mennonite school. All the same, the motion for dismissal was denied and the trial proceeded. This was not an isolated case. Other [inaudible 00:01:17] trials have taken place in other states. Some judges have stated that the child belongs to the state not to the parents. Step by step, the state is claiming more and more powers over the family and over children. The significant fact about all these trials is it is the children who are among the very best in the community who are on trial. Moreover, the state puts more effort into trying to convict these children than it sometimes does with criminals and real delinquents. The various states seem to consider it a more serious offense to stay out of a state school than to endanger life and property.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:59 The state’s power structure is affected every time a child leaves a state school for a Christian school. And this is the real offense. Again and again various trials have shown that Christian schools provide at least as good education, and in virtually every case far better schooling than do the public schools. They produce better educated, more moral, and more resourceful graduates. In terms of comparison, the Christian schools clearly excel. Court-ordered testings have shown this. However, there is a serious problem with Christian schools. They do cut the amount of tax funds the state schools can demand. And state bureaucrats hate nothing more than any activity which can limit their demand for taxes.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:53 At far less money, at no cost to the taxpayer, the Christian school produces a better education. This is its offense. The state schools cannot stand the competition and so they strike back. As a result, Christian schools and churches are on trial all over the country, and children are tried as delinquents. Meanwhile, the state schools are producing more and more illiterates. 21 million according to federal statistics are functional illiterates. And the estimates are that nine million more will graduate as illiterates before long. We have probably never had a higher illiteracy rate in this country. Doesn’t make good sense to prosecute the schools which do educate and to take to juvenile courts children who are law-abiding and are guilty of nothing save going to a Christian school. State and federal agencies are forcing controls upon us. Will you choose freedom?

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder