Our Threatened Freedom

Are We Enemies Of Initiative? (03:31)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01 Are we enemies of initiative. This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. Every now and then a news item catches my eye, a brief notice, and nothing more appears and I am left wondering how the incident turned out. One such item that I keep looking at over and over again appeared in November, 1976.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:25 It read, and I quote, “The Ohio Division of Wildlife recently used as many as five agents, including two undercover men, to investigate and prosecute an 11-year-old boy for selling fishing worms and crayfish in his parents’ front yard. In two weeks his stand sold $4.50 worth of bait, including that sold to the undercover agent. State regulations in Ohio require a permit to sell bait.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01 This is not an usual story. I have run across several like it. I keep wondering, however, what happened. How could grown men make such an arrest without being somewhat embarrassed? Were they not ashamed to be involved in such a case? Did the state of Ohio do anything to alter its law? Talk about juvenile delinquency, legislators who pass such a law and bureaucrats and agents who enforce it are worst than delinquents.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:31 Long ago the psalmists spoke of the throne of iniquity, framing mischief by a law. That is using the pretense of law to be oppressive. I submit that our law makers today are too often framing mischief by law. At the same time, the children are arrested for showing initiative and a desire to earn some money, our wise fathers in the state capitals and Washington, D.C. are whittling away at parental powers and the function and freedom of children on their own, and our courts are taking over parental powers.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:11 Let’s get back to the boy in Ohio. When civil government uses five agents to entrap and arrest an 11-year-old boy for selling fishing worms, something is radically wrong with the country. If they are ready to go after an 11 year old with such passion, what will they not do to us when they so choose? I said that I have often wondered how that story and others like it ended. However, in a very important sense, the story will not end until we do something about it.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:46 This means at the very least, clipping the wings of the power of state. It means valuing freedom more highly than statist regulations. It means, moreover, regarding all state and federal officials who are involved in such cases as the moral lepers they are. What was wrong with selling fishing worms? Is it possible to sell inferior or defective fishing worms? Why is a permit necessary to sell bait? Is the state trying to prove to us that we have no freedom to do anything unless they give us a permit. 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