Our Threatened Freedom

Is The Bed Of Procrustes Back Again? (03:40)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 Is the bed of Procrustes back again? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. What is sake and how do you classify it? Now, sake is a Japanese drink and while I am not interested in sake, I am interested in freedom. The problem is this, sake does not fit the American definitions of either beer or wine. Beer is made from grain and wine from fruit. This should make sake a beer, but its alcohol content is that of wine. Because California is a major rice producer and because sake is made out of rice, a company was established to make sake and there the trouble began.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:50 The federal government classifies the Numano Sake Company as a brewery and the state of California classified it as a winery. If the company met the classifications of one, it would not satisfy the regulations of the other, so that to satisfy one branch of civil government meant being shut down by the other. Finally an offer to the situation was solved. A solution or compromise has been reached. After all, both state and federal governments want the tax money.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:27 The basic issue remains, however. The issue is this, remember the story from ancient Greece about a deadly innkeeper named Procrustes? Procrustes required all travelers to fit his bed. If they were too short, he and his men stretched them to fit. If they were too long, they cut off their feet. As a result, everybody who stopped to spend a night at the inn died on the bed of Procrustes.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:01 Now I submit that our state and federal agencies are our modern beds of Procrustes. We are required to fit their specifications and regulation and if we do not fit, we are the target of hostile action. If our civil governments are to be a servant to the people, why do we have to meet their specifications? How they can they be serving us by compelling us to meet absurd regulations? What justice is there in trying to shut down a church, for example, because its ceiling is less than an inch short of the height required by local building code?

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:43 Very plainly, the bed of Procrustes is with us still. For example, when is a church not a church? Does it cease to be a church and become a school when it has a Sunday School? Does a weekday parochial school or a Christian day school make it no longer a church but a school, or is it a child care facility as the welfare officers of at least one state are trying to say? In other words, the church feels it is in all these things still a church, but both the Department of Education and the Welfare Department claim jurisdiction and each has its own and conflicting regulations. In other words, the bed of Procrustes is an ancient myth, but it is also a very present reality.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:36 This has been R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened 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