Our Threatened Freedom

Does Crime Pay? (03:38)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01 Does crime pay? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. A great many people in California were very unhappy recently, because a conman was released from prison after serving only three years of a nine-year sentence. This man robbed a number of people of $9 million by operating a supposed “investment business” which was actually an elaborate Ponzi scheme. The con man thus served three years, or paid a year for each $3 million in profit per year. An attorney for some of the victims said of Boron, where the conman was incarcerated, “It’s a country club, not a prison. They’ve got tennis courts, a lovely swimming pool and a very lovely exercise room. The prisoners live in dorm-style housing.” Some of this conman’s victims lost their savings and their homes. The con man lost three years of his time, and nothing more.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:07 Clearly, this is not justice. Very obviously, crime paid very well for this man, and many others. Prisons are no deterrent to crime even at their worst, and the growing crime rate is of concern to all of us. It is time, then, to reconsider what the Bible requires with respect to criminal offenses. The basic premise of Biblical justice is restitution. Restitution places the penalty on the criminal, not on the victim. If a man steals $100, he must restore $100 plus a penalty of another 100. Depending on the kind of thing stolen, restitution can be up to fivefold, according to Exodus 22:1. If a man cannot make restitution, he must become a bondservant and, by compulsory labor, be in servitude until restitution is fully made. For capital offenses, capital punishment is required by the Bible. In some states and localities, we are seeing a return to the principle of restitution. In this system, the criminal is penalized, not the victim.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:24 A recent case revealed that one particularly degenerate criminal, whose profits run into millions of dollars, has deposited these funds in foreign banks. Such a step makes retirement abroad easier after a brief spell in prison at the taxpayer’s expense. The courts never asked the conman, who robbed trusting people of $9 million, to repay anyone. As taxpayers, all of them helped to support, in prison, the man who destroyed them, and they know that he will now have a beautiful home to return to, plus a mansion in Hawaii. Crime does pay. This is one reason why crime is a major growth business. Big money is being made in crime. I doubt that Benjamin Franklin would say today that, “Honesty is the best policy.” Honesty is the only moral and godly way of life, but our laws and courts are hardly making it a good policy. Any society in which crime pays is in deep, deep trouble. 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