Our Threatened Freedom

Justice in the Courts? (04:08)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 Justice in the courts. This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:06 In March of 1980, the sheriff and his men arrested the pastor of a church in Mississippi. Reverend Herman Fountain is pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church and Children’s Home near Lucedale. The children’s home seeks to rehabilitate children or to provide a home for homeless children. No child is kept against his wishes, and the honor system prevails.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:30 A 15-year-old boy, six feet tall, about 180 lbs. in weight, had just been placed in the home. Pastor Fountain had told the unruly boy either to keep the rules or leave. The boy took off, was picked up on the highway by the sheriff’s men a 3 to 4 a.m., and he claimed he had been whipped.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:51 Without an investigation, the sheriff, some of his men, and a Welfare Department employee went to the church at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning to arrest the pastor. The assistant pastor was also arrested, the service shut down, and church records confiscated. All the children in the home were taken and examined to see if they had any bruises.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:15 No criminal action was proved or prosecuted. The state required minor changes in the home facilities, most of them already planned or in progress, and asked Pastor and Mrs. Fountain and three other defendants to sign a release form stating that they would take no civil legal action charging violation of their civil and/or constitutional rights, before they would agree to drop the charges.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:43 What was unusual in this case was the fact that the court apologized more than once, according to reports to Pastor Fountain and the others. Godly and innocent men are regularly subjected to legal injustice and harassment without any apologies. The Mississippi court was unusual in the fact that some apology was made, and deserves commendation for this fact.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:09 What was usual in this case, however, was what the release form represented. Our courts are our agencies of county, state, or federal branches of government. They have come to represent and defend, not the freedom of the people nor their interests, but of the state and its bureaucracy. As a result, the courts represent less and less a resort for the people and their appeal for justice, but more and more a [sadist 00:02:40] resource against the people. A very high percentage of the cases heard by the higher courts represent appeals by some branch or agency of state against the people. We can be grateful in this situation that there are more than a few judges who vindicate the appeal, but the trend is towards the vindication of the state.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:02 Marxism holds openly to the belief that the law and the courts must represent a class interest. Their charge against us is that our courts represent the capitalistic class against the workers. The theory behind our judicial system is that the court and law must represent justice, not a class nor the state. The state cannot be identified with justice. All too often in history, past and present, the state has been the source of very monstrous injustices.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:42 For courts thus to protect any state bureaucracy, agency, or officer and to cooperate in a release form which exempts all such from the rightful penalties for their actions is thus morally wrong. The court has no right to represent the state or the people. The court must represent justice.

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