Our Threatened Freedom

Are We Misjudging Our Prison Convicts? (03:32)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01 Are we misjudging our prison convicts? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. Recently, a murder took place inside the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, California. A young man of 24, in prison for six months, for petty theft and battery was murdered because he refused to pay $5 a week to live. A prison gang was extorting money from other prisoners and beating all who refused into submission. This young man, having refused to pay, at all, was beaten and kicked to death less than a month before his release date. 15 street gang members were arrested for the murder. Two were 18 years-old, one was 24, and the other 13 gang members, in prison, were between 19 and 23 years of age. All were in prison on charges ranging from parole violation to murder.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:03 This extortion racket was not unknown to the jailers. According to Deputy District Attorney Peter Berman, and I quote, “Any non-gang was to be charged $5 a week to live on the row, and if he didn’t like it, he would be beaten up. The jailers would have to remove him and bring in another guy to be extorted.” The 15 gang members were arrested, but we can probably be sure that nothing will be done to the jailers, who are, in a sense, accessories to such extortion. This crime, of course, was only a brief glimpse into the cesspool life of prisons. Homosexual rape is routine in jails. Prison life is a monstrous evil and, yet, prisons were originally started as reform institutions.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:56 Our problem with prisons is that we begin, and end, with a false doctrine of man. Humanism holds that men are either, naturally good or, at worst, morally neutral. The solution to criminal behavior, then, become rehabilitation, trying to change the prisoner’s outlook and lifestyle. I believe it is time for us to view criminals, again, as sinners, as men with an evil bent. To be under any illusions about the nature of criminals is to be more, and more defenseless in dealing with them. When parents of young hoodlums, and murderers, tell us that their sons are really good boys at heart, we need to challenge that assumption.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:42 I am weary of reading about model boys suddenly going wrong, only to find out, too often, that they were manifesting their evil character long before, only to have their parents cover up for them. When such people cover up their son’s evil, they only encourage him, thereby, to feel free to indulge his criminality all the more. If we regard our criminals as unfortunate men and boys, we are misjudging them. If we treat criminals as people who are really good at heart, we are fools and suckers. The more respect and freedom we give to evil men, and to criminals, the less freedom there will be for us to enjoy.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:27 This has been R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threat to 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