Our Threatened Freedom

Is The First Amendment Being Misrepresented? (03:06)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 Is the First Amendment being misrepresented? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. Lately, a number of groups have attacked the church and churchmen for getting involved in politics. These criticism are aimed, in particular, against Evangelical groups, which have been qualmed lately to heal the various small issues and legal attacks on churches and Christian school. These critics charge that such activities are a violation of the First Amendment and the separation of church and state.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:34 The fact is, however, that the First Amendment was written to prevent the establishment of a national church by the federal government. A substantial number of Americans in 1781 were foreign born, or had close ties with either Britain or Colonial Europe. They knew that a state church easily and regularly becomes a corrupt church because it is not answerable to the people. Even more, they knew that when a civil government establishes and supports a church financially, that church will be tend to be silent where civil corruption is concerned. Being financially supported by the state, it will usually be unwilling to criticize or indict the hand that feeds it.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:19 The American War of Independence was extensively meta packed by the Colonial Clergy. They were opposed to the establishment, back parliament, or a crown, of a state church over all of the colonies. The Colonial Clergy was vocal in calling attention to the ball figures the British or royal rule. As a result, the colonists felt very strongly when the Constitution was adoption, that the great need for the United States was a free church and a free state. They wanted a free church precisely because they felt the need for a strong and independent voice to call attention to the religious and moral issues in politics. They felt it was necessary for the church to speak feely and effectively and not be silenced by state control.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:06 The whole purpose of the First Amendment was thus to make sure that the church would have a free and uncontrolled voice in public affairs. The colonists were afraid of big government. They were even more afraid of the combination of a powerful civil government and a church. The freedom of the church was to help ensure the protection of the people against a power hungry state. As a matter of fact, both in colonial and early Constitutional America, an important aspect of church life was the preaching of election sermons, that spat out the moral and religion issues at stake in civil and political affairs. It would be a disaster if that moral voice was silenced.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:49 Copies of this broadcast are available from R.J. Rushdoony, P.O. Box 188, Vallecito, California, 95251. Please send at least one dollar to help the cost of reproduction, mailing, and office help. Ask for “Is the First Amendment Being Misrepresented?”

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