Christianity and Culture Question and Answer - RR196A2
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
…In the banner, the fundamental symbol of our faith, the cross and the crown, they go together.
[Audience Leader] Questions?
[Audience Member] The question is: should churches be licensed by the state?
[Rushdoony] The answer is obviously no, because then the state is the Lord. And to have licensure by the state is the death of the faith, and this is what the early church fought against and what we are still fighting against. In the past 20 years I have been a witness in a number of church and state cases involving churches, Christian schools, homeschools, almost all involving the issue of licensure. In one state at a state senate committee hearing, where they wanted to have licensure so that they could walk in at any time and say: “You don’t meet our standards, and therefore we are closing you down.” We said: “We will go along with that if we can walk into any state school and say: “Your standards are bad, your results are bad and we are shutting you down.” The senators on the committee were inclined to agree, and so the board of education for the state withdrew their demand for such legislation.
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, This morning you mentioned that there was no separation of church and state in antiquity and I think I understood that to be pagan antiquity, and I was wondering if you might comment on Israel’s antiquity, and was there any separation of church and state in Israel.
[Rushdoony] Yes, in antiquity there was no separation of church, religion or the state. The state was the source of everything in every sphere. This was not true in Israel; I mentioned in passing that Israel was the exception. In Israel the attempt of any ruler to transgress the boundary was punishable by God, a signal instance of that involving a very good King was when Uzziah attempted to participate in the sacrificial offerings. The prophets could go and confront kings, and if the king had any trace of godliness he put up with it, and as with David accepted the rebuke. Even with some of the kings in the Northern kingdom who were all without exception Godless they did take the rebuke of prophets. Ahab, evil thought he was, again and again was rebuked by Elijah and took it, he did not dare transgress, so that although you had exceptions and until the latter part of his reign Manasseh did kill prophets, the division was clear cut. The state did not transgress within the domain of God in worship, and the prophets in their proclamations of the word of God. You did have instances, we have reference to it, of a preference for false prophets, and you recall when the famous instance when Jehoshaphat linked forces with Ahab’s family, he asked: “Is there not a prophet of the Lord who will prophesy?” and Micaiah was brought in, and he prophesied judgement.
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, can you comment on the status of the separation of church and state in this country at this time?
[Rushdoony] Yes, that would take a long, long commentary, because it is a very troubled situation right now. The state since World War 2 has increasingly moved to control the two key areas that were totally outside the states control, the family and the church. Today the control over families is far gone. It’s an interesting thing that in the name of child abuse a great many parents have been taken to court, and some have been convicted, most have been wiped out financially in fighting this. [00:06:06]
There is a foundation that has been created by these...
There is a foundation that has been created by these families, the false memory syndrome foundation. And the interesting thing is that these families who faced these charges usually against the father, sometimes against both parents of molesting their children, are almost without exception Christian, they are quite well to do, their income runs between 75-150,000, and they have been active in the leadership of a number of conservative and Christian causes. Even when they win they are usually wiped out financially, so they are out of the battle. They have often lost their homes and their life savings.
So it is hard not to see this as a deliberate move against people who are leaders in the Christian community. Then we have had attempts to control the Christian and homeschools. I don’t know how many trials of that sort I have been a witness in, I can’t begin to remember. But for years I was travelling all over to be an expert witness in such cases. Those trials are virtually over, and we did win, It was a costly battle but we won. Now the strategy is twofold; by legislation and by regulation by agencies similar to the federal register, putting into the state system a regulation that is a root and branch control of the Christian school and the homeschool. We are defeating those. There is another strategy being used, and that is the voucher plan, in some form to grant state aid. Currently there is one in the hopper in Pennsylvania, and there are five votes blocking it, and I have felt the pressure of very fine Catholic Lawyers and friends who called me and asked me to plead with these men to change their votes since they claim to be Christian reconstructionist. Which they are. And I have had to say: “No, because it is an established legal principle which the supreme court has upheld again and again that wherever state funds or federal funds go, controls must follow, even if a law is passed saying there will be none.
Now, I was discussing that early this week, Monday I believe with a man whom I regard as the top church and state lawyer in this country, and he is Catholic lawyer who has spent a great deal of his life fighting for Protestants, to help preserve their churches and Christian schools. And I reminded of him of something that Phil (Courland?), who for years put out an annual volume summarizing the legal decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and the their implications, and in one of them, a volume of about 10 years ago, maybe a little more, (Courland commented, he said: “I have never known a law that wound up meaning what its framers intended it to mean, because the courts alter the meaning to suit themselves.” So, that is why it is dangerous to get any law on the books that will involve churches. Christian schools, the families, because they can be made to read the exact opposite.
So we have had a battle since the mid 70’s. Both parties were very bad in their treatment of us, Carter was terrible in this regard, Reagan was terrible, Bush was terrible, they have all been bad. As soon as they get into office they assume they have total power. I know that not long after Reagan was elected I was one of about a dozen to 15 men in the white house meeting with then Attorney General Meese. And I sat at his right hand, and William Bentley Ball the greatest constitutional attorney I think in his field in our day if not in this century was on his left. And we both remember vividly what Meese said when we told him the regulation they were planning ot put and which we were able to kill, Meese didn’t think we could get enough of a protest, but we deluged them with the biggest amount of mail they had received to that date, so they backed off. There was an IRS hearing later when they attempted regulation, and they had 3 days of hearings from 9am to 11 p.m., of people, Protestant Catholic and Jewish protesting the regulation of churches and Christian or religious schools. But at that point Meese when I said this would lead to the total control of Churches and their schools smiled indulgently at me and said: “We believe we already have that power.” Now that is their mentality. The IRS hearings by the way were published the first day till mid afternoon, the Federal authorities and the IRS testified, and that was all the media covered. There was no coverage of what the Christians and Jews and Protestants and Catholics testified to, the only publication which carried a story, not about the testimony but favorable to our side was the Wall Street Journal, which carried a story about the school that Kent Kelly has in Southern Pines North Carolina, and it was a favorable story. [00:14:43]
[Audience Leader] For the benefit of folks listening...
[Audience Leader] For the benefit of folks listening on tape, the question is: “What words can we use, what phraseology, to get that idea across to people we see day to day, that church and government should not naturally be opposed, but should be working together?
[Rushdoony] Well, that’s quite a question and a very important one. Let’s begin with a very, very down to earth practical thing. We Christians are the overwhelming majority in this country. As of 1988, it was shown that there were 91 million Americans, 18 years of age and older who declared they believed the Bible from cover to cover and that they were born again Christians, 91 million adults. Add to that their children and you’ve got the overwhelming majority. But when it comes to government, politics, they are the weakest group in the country. And I think that there is a good reason for it. They do not put their pocket book on the line with their mouth. They do not put up money for candidates on our side, that is why we lose election after election. Christians must start supporting Christian candidates.
We have an assemblyman in our district, David (Noles?), who is a very fine Christian Reconstructionist. Willy Brown was so upset when he was elected that he wouldn’t get, assign him an office, although there was a vacant office or two, he gave him a closet as his office. And David hung in there and finally he got an office after about 8 months, but he has done wonders up there because as a Christian he is saying: “What can we do?” to everybody on either side.
So with John Burton, the man who is the furthest left of any U.S. Congressman we’ve had and is now an assembly man from San Francisco, they passed a law prohibiting seizures of private property in drug cases and environmental cases and so on. You see, the law today if they seize your car, your home, or your bank account and they usually take everything, on the pretense that you may have been involved in drugs, or you may have been guilty of an environmental violation, there are I believe 10 agencies in Washington and about 3 thousand on the state and county level doing this. They don’t return them even though you are innocent. In most cases, the people, overwhelming number of cases, the people are innocent. They don’t want to go into some of the slum areas and get the real drug dealers because they might get shot at. SO we put a block on that within California, as far as any state agency is concerned. And we did it because we Christians elected David (Noles?). [00:18:58]
And David is not there to fight, he is there to help...
And David is not there to fight, he is there to help us. And so he found that a far left winger, the furthest out, didn’t like these seizures, so he said; “Let’s work together John.” And without coalition of the extreme right and left it really worked. That’s practical politics. How did that happen? It was because we Christians in our district put up the money, we elected David (Noles?). We have got to do more of that. Then it becomes possible to work together, because we are active in the political sphere.
Now one of our problems today is a problem that happens again and again in the breakdown of civilization, and our civilization is breaking down. The people who are very much the target of hostility at such a time are lawyers, there are probably more bad jokes about lawyers than about any other group of people. Why? Because law effects every one of us, and instead of getting mad at the law makers we get mad at the lawyers, and again and again in this history of the world you suddenly see everyone is focusing on the lawyers. And it is a sign of a breakdown, because law has broken down. Well, we have to restore law, we have to make God’s law again the law of the land, and we are not going to do it until it is our law. Most Christians have no use for God’s law. So how are we going to have a country that is Godly? Christians don’t pay any attention to the law.
A friend and a coworker, Laurie (Eck?) a lawyer, who was a very successful lawyer, without working too hard, a brilliant young man, he was e4arning 10 15 years ago, 20 years ago, three quarters of a million a year. In the process he found that life without faith was meaningless, he became an alcoholic and messed up his life, and then found the way back through Christ. And he realized: ‘I am a mess, the law is a mess, the country is a mess, why?” Well as a lawyer he read through the Bible after his conversion, and he said: “We have a blue print here, God’s law. If we have Christ as our savior and the law as our day by day guide, we’ve got it made.” And so he said: “I am going to start courts from coast to coast, that Christians can go to, or pagans, and sign a contract that they will abide by the decision of the court, and the decision will be rendered in terms of God’s law.” [00:23:02]
Well, in his own community in about the second or third...
Well, in his own community in about the second or third year they settled monetary cases of quite a few million dollars. Millions upon millions. And it was off to a tremendous start. But then the pietists got ahold of it and killed it, and they would say to people: “Now look, we know he stole $10,000 from you, or $20,000, or $50,000 whatever the case was, but you are both Christians, why don’t you forgive and shake hands and forget about it?” They forgot about God’s law of restitution, and that killed off those courts of settlement, and it killed Laurie (Eck?) he died of a heart attack when he saw what they did to the great work he had begun.
There are so many ways, you see, that we can find a way back. But our problem in this age and since the early 1820’s, it’s been building up in this country, older and longer in Europe, Christians have left everything to church and state. Whereas God calls us as individuals to make our stand where we are, and we are not going to turn state nor church around, until we as individuals, start taking a stand.
One of the things that distresses me, I have for a, well, since the 40’s travelled from coast to coast, quite extensively. I have seen marvelous churches that some pastor has worked to build up collapse when he leaves. [Tape Ends] [00:25:27]