Justice - EC350

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Justice
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 48
Length: 0:58:05
TapeCode: ec350
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 350, November the eighth, 1995.

In this session Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Paul Biddle and I will discuss justice.

Now not too long ago, in fact, last month we dealt with justice although our emphasis in that one was the justice system and the breakdown of it in practice. Our concern tonight is more with justice. What does it mean? What does it lead to when justice ceases to be a viable concept and so on?

Well, for us as Christians justice means the expression of the being of God, his law. We define justice simply as the law of God. The Bible speaks of it very often and most of the time it is translated in terms of a word once more common in English: righteousness. Righteousness and justice are the same concepts.

Well, having separated the doctrine of justice from God, justice has come to mean less and less. It is now defined by the state in what the state does is justice or as the Soviets said, whatever the state decrees is law and binding. The democracies have a cynical attitude towards justice. Chief Justice Vinson at the beginning of the 50s made clear that there was no valid eternally true idea that could be used to guide the law. Law was the do it yourself functioning of the state apparently.

We have had in recent years men in practice and men in law schools ridicule the idea of justice. The law is simply a pragmatic, positive step used by the state to govern society. Christians, therefore, who are unwilling to come to grips with the problem of justice are surrendering the faith. [00:03:07]

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] I know there are some who say that as long as they believe the Bible it doesn’t matter what they think and I know some of these same people will involve themselves in anti Christian ideas because they have separated the Bible from the world to the point that they make no connection or application of the faith to life. Well, with that general introduction, Douglas, you have some important ideas in this area.

[Murray] Well, one of the things that we read about today that the politicians are trying to sell people on the idea that they will be safe if they build more prisons. And nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, we are broke. We can’t afford the new prisons and the prisons don’t change anybody’s minds. In a recent television program where a minister went in and interviewed a large number of convicts in, I believe, it was a Kentucky state prison, none of them were looking forward to any kind of rehabilitation. Every single one of them was convinced that they would do the same crimes again if they were let go. I thought it was very candid. These interviews were very candid. A lot of them will try to con an interview and say, “Oh, no, I have got religion. I am going to follow the straight and narrow,” but a few do, but many of them use that line cynically in order to persuade their interviewer that they are being rehabilitated.

But the idea that society is safe because we build more prisons, we are only putting ourselves in a prison. First of all, we are incurring debt which we are warned not to do, because we run out f money. We can’t afford to build any more prisons and there is an easier way. All we have to do is put the 10 Commandments back in the school house. There has to be some rules. And if the judges continue to say what the law is instead of accepting the law as it is handed down in the Bible, we are going to continue to get into this gradually diminishing justice where, in essence, there is no justice to the law. The law is what they say it is. They... each situation is judged on its own merits. You have got exceptions being made now by the Supreme Court that would have been unthinkable when I was a kid. [00:06:11]

[Voice] That’s right...[edit]

[Voice] That’s right.

[Murray] And they are now making one exception after another which, in effect, they are chipping away at the constitutional guarantees and totally ignoring what is just to the point where there are no guidelines anymore. There are no biblical guidelines and there is no constitutional guidelines. And they are just flying on auto pilot from one decision to the next.

[Voice] As Rush indicated, in the Bible justice and righteousness are really synonymous ideas. I think a lot of people need to understand that in the Bible justice is forensic and objective. That is largely Hebraic as well as the, you know, New Testament idea that justice implies a certain inflexible permanent standard which is just the opposite, of course, of what you were indicating, Douglas, as is prominent today. And, of course, that enduring standard is the law of God. The people don’t like that, because of our existential and experientialist generation. It is all how they feel. So great emphasis on compassion as though there is some relationship between justice and compassion and justice or justice and feelings or justice and guilt feelings. But biblically that is just simply wrong. I mean, you can’t examine the Scriptures and come up with that idea at all.

It is really sad how we have apostatized from a concept of justice which is affected, by the way—and Rush has written about this voluminously—argues of the atonement. That is why our views of the atonement have become so sentimental because of the perverted sense of justice. And it may be the other way around. I mean, false views of the atonement lead to bad views of justice also, but those are things maybe we could talk about, too.

[Murray] Well, one ... one little illustration, a personal anecdote. I have recently started a business and I had to apply for a sales tax permit. So I called the board of equalization in the state capital in Sacramento and I said, “I want to apply for a sales tax permit.” And they said, “Well, you will have to do this, this and this.” And so, fine. Sent the forms. And I said, “By the way, would you send me a copy of the ... the laws regarding sales tax?” And there was a long silence like, I don’t... and the woman said, “Well, I don’t know if I can do that.”

And I said, “How am I going to obey the law if I don’t know what the law is?”

And the same situation exists in public schools. How are kids going to obey the law if they don’t know what the law is. They are not taught the law. If their parents don’t teach it to them and the schools don’t have the 10 Commandments on the wall, the kids come out of school not knowing what the rules are. [00:09:05]

[Voice] Well, we live in such an Antinomian age in...[edit]

[Voice] Well, we live in such an Antinomian age in which man makes up his own law. And modern public education has fallen into that trap. You know, we don’t want to impose any ideas on the students. You know, we want the students to come and give us their ideas because everybody is basically right. They are right from a different perspective. So is it any wonder that they grow up, many of them, and become lawless, a civilly lawless people? No. It is no wonder that that happens.

[Voice] So you have man made law and you have God’s law.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] But man made law, we know how that just wanders and meanders about and becomes whatever man wants it to be. God’s law is becoming hash in the hands of a lot of people. You don’t find the rigor and the desire to understand and comply and ... and try to live by God’s law. But I... I... on this word justice, you know, I... I ... I think of the ways we use it in our vernacular. We have a justice of the peace, speaking to a community standard of peace. We have department of justice.

[Voice] Juvenile justice center.

[Voice] Yes. Yes. And I... I... I look back to a meeting that I had with some officials in the department of justice who were very senior and I would say within the second or third rung of the department of justice. And I asked them. I said, “What is the purpose of the department of justice?” Because I was very concerned about the manner in which the department of justice on the surface appeared in many instances not to be responsive to public interest.

And they said, “Well, the department of justice—and I emphasize the word justice—its mission is to provide advocacy for the executive branch of the government within constitutional constraints.”

[Voice] By we have to meander a bit on that one, too.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] I mean... and these choices of words. I mean, we have... we have allowed ourselves to take the best {?} I think justice and we... we stick that in the title, but we... we tend to have gone away from the original thought of justice. And I... I think that is a function of lack of interest, distance from the action of the American people. When we find that it gets down very personal, everyone has a pretty good understanding of what justice said. As Holmes said, “You can... if you are a dog, you know when you are stepped on and when you are by accident and when you are kicked.”

Well, I think most people have a concept of what justice is also, but we are so willing to take the words at face value and not realize how deficient they are from our understanding. [00:11:54]

[Murray] Well, it is a sleeping tablet...[edit]

[Murray] Well, it is a sleeping tablet. It puts people to sleep. As long as they see the symbol up there, they think everything is all right. They don’t look behind the ... the symbol to see if it is... it is... if it is just. Just this past week Investor’s Business Daily they announced a... a request by the U S Justice Department for permission to tap every 10th telephone call.

[Voice] Oh, dear.

[Murray] Because the computers were never fast enough before. You know, they have... they have been wanting to do this for the past 20 or 25 years, but the computers weren’t fast enough. Now that they have got the speed and the capacity, they can now do this. No...’

[Voice] They can provide justice, Douglas?

[Murray] Yeah, they can provide justice by invading the privacy. Now if there... there is no reasonable cause here. Their reasonable cause is the broad goal of ... of detecting terrorism.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Murray] And how they are... what they are going to do is they are going to program these computers to key in on certain words that they program into the computer like fertilizer and dynamite and, you know, all of these terminologies and who knows what else they are ... they are going to monitor? In other words, they are going to use these computers to direct their attention to specific individuals or groups of individuals based on what they say on telephone conversations.

[Rushdoony] And do you...

[Murray] They... they... they have no proof of any wrong doing yet, but they are going to use this as a tool to uncover wrong doing or suspected wrong doing or potential wrong doing. So big brother has arrived. It is just that these guys have been waiting breathlessly for the technology to get up to speed so that they could accomplish what they set out to do 25 years ago and that is to monitor all conversations all the time by everybody.

[Voice] We don’t deserve man’s justice. We deserve God’s justice. I tell you.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Well, you know, Rush, you... we were talking... talking about the debasement of words. You take the idea of justice, put it into the hands of a liberal and he emphasizes, let’s call distributive justice. And the idea that if you oppose minimum wage you are being unjust. It is just that everybody in society be guaranteed a certain level of income. And that is how this word, this word justice is used more by liberals. You wouldn’t believe how frequently this word trips along their lips. But it doesn’t mean the objective forensic unchanging justice that the Word of God indicates. It means their latest idea is cooked up by their... you know, is sprung by their compassion. It is a prime example of how words really lose their meaning in the hands of... of unbelievers. [00:15:03]

[Murray] Well, semantic twisting has been going on...[edit]

[Murray] Well, semantic twisting has been going on since 1960. They invented words that mean nothing and they have destroyed the meaning of other words that used to mean something.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] It has been a disinformation game from the get go.

[Voice] Well, sometimes...

[multiple voices]

[Voice] ... like in Orwell’s 1984, you know, they... the government societies were just the opposite of what they were intended to do.

[Murray] People are so confused about what they thought they knew they no conclude that they know nothing.

[Voice] Well, you take the difference between judges and justices. And we always think of justices as being the Supreme Court, the superior court justice and a judge being the fellow down in the superior court or a local court within a community. I think as we start looking at the judicial system, we being to realize that there is less and less and less justice because of the quality of the judges and justices. It is no longer the, what should I say, the quality of a judicial system that we were taught that we anticipated and we tended to believe. Now we are starting to see that judicial systems are merely the result of the people who populate the bench. And if you have marginal people on the bench you get marginal justice. And we shouldn’t even characterize it as justice. That was... We have to think of another name. Andrew, have you got another name for that besides justice?

[Voice] Well, when the wicked do it, it is called injustice.

[Murray] Judicial expediency.

[Voice] You know, another point. I was studying this idea researching for it tonight. Interesting in the Scripture that justice is often associated with weights and measures in the Bible.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] It is really remarkable. And we have an inflationary society and Rush has pointed this out in his ... the little booklet on inflation, The Roots of Inflation, I think, is the title. We have an unjust society. So we are living in an unjust economic society when we do not have proper weights and measures.

[Murray] Just weights and just measures is synonymous with fairness.

[Voice] That is right.

[Murray] Fairless and equity.

[Voice] That is right. And when we inflate the currency and when we have the federal government involved in little economic games, that really is a denial of one aspect of the denial of biblical justice.

[Voice] But when we see our own department of justice going into the federal judiciary system and in the midst of trial whispering into the ear of the judge on cases in which they are not involved, civil cases, I... I think we start seeing the ... it is not... I guess you would say cohesiveness of the justice system and I think all Americans... I get back tot his issue. We as being born in the United States, we have this sense you speak of, Douglas, of fairness, equity. We expect it to stand up to scrutiny. We think that if four or five of us sit down and heard the same facts, we would come to the same conclusion. [00:18:08]

I think now due to the quality of the bench and their...[edit]

I think now due to the quality of the bench and their involvement in making law, not just being judges, but making law, administrative law perhaps we could say, we have drifted away from justice. We have even now sometimes we look at our judicial system of.. of jury... of trial by jury. And it is not exactly what we thought it was before. We have some questions. I think many Americans say, “What is this trial by jury when you can throw people off the jury, when you can have people on the jury not be responsive to facts?”

Many people question our system and I think it is still the best system in the world, but...

[Murray] In theory.

[Voice] In theory, but when you get into practice, {?} some things, anomalies of... of economics and life are system tends to just conk along rather than... that ride smoothly.

[Murray] Well, we... people have become cynical because of judicial misbehavior. You know, e have had now a generation of judicial activism which has destroyed people’s belief in justice.

[Voice] That’s right.

[Murray] And it is... it has happened very quickly. It has happened. It seems to me like it has happened within my... within my lifetime that people have become so cynical about the law that they no longer care about what is just. It is what is popular. It is what feels good. It doesn’t have anything to do with the law. It doesn’t have anything to do with what is just. It is what they think it ought to be. And they are simply following what they have been taught.

[Voice] Well, if you {?} I give you a specific {?} I just really... it repulsed me. Maybe three to four years ago McDonnell Douglas in Saint Louis, excuse me, was in some ... some financial difficulty. And we had the department of defense and the department of justice trying to decide whether they should be prosecuted for defrauding the federal government. And the conclusion that they came down to was that we needed to have the resources of McDonnell Douglas to continue to help us in our national defense and to go back and go after them for defrauding the federal government would not be in the best interest of the government.

Now, boy, if you are a citizen and you start seeing how you are... it is wrong from one side to another. If you do not have the proper withholding or get your quarterly tax payments in on time. You start saying, “This is not justice. This is where the individual without too much difficulty can start seeing the absence of fairness and equity and justice.”

[Murray] Well, we are just going to have to learn how to become indispensible to the government.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] That is another biblical violation with regard to justice. Biblically the idea of justice is that there can be no difference between rich and poor. That is one... that is another point about adjudication. You can’t consider a poor man’s poverty or a rich man’s riches. [00:21:17]

So people say American has got the best justice money...[edit]

So people say American has got the best justice money can buy. Well, it shouldn’t be that way. All too frequently it is, but the Bible is very clear on that. Grave warnings to those who dispense justice that they not take into account the wealth or the poverty of the person involved.

[Voice] Well, again we come back to God’s law and man’s law.

[Voice] Absolutely. And we must be governed by the law of God or we will be governed by tyrants and that is exactly what has happened today.

[Rushdoony] Now, of course, if you mention God’s law today you are ridiculed as though you were somehow a dangerous person in society.

[Voice] When really it is the people who oppose God’s law who are dangerous, because then whenever you introduce a fluctuating standard in the hands of tyrants, whether a single tyrant or institutional tyranny as is usually the case, that is what is really dangerous. I mean, biblical law puts the stranglehold on tyranny. It won’t permit tyranny. But when you get rid of biblical law that is when we can really be afraid of ... of tyrants and that is... we have lived to see that today.

[Murray] I just... I... I wonder if ... if the human race will ever become intelligent enough to see that after trying everything else and it has resulted in abysmal failure maybe just maybe they might try God’s law and it might work for them.

[Voice] Yeah. Do you know why that won’t happen, I think? I... I hope you are right, Douglas, that it will. But it is the same thing that I talked to Rush about and that is our memory is only the recent past. We are not aware of history. We have not had a reflective thought...

[Murray] Yes. Yeah.

[Voice] ... that has sufficient scope to realize our failing.

[Murray] One or two generations from a historical perspective is one or two generations.

[Rushdoony] I cited this before. Former State Senator Bill Richardson, a good friend, once told me. He said, “Politicians know that with rare exceptions, no voter remembers anything more than 60 to 90 days old.” The one exception was ... of note was Teddy Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. Normally whatever you do is quickly forgotten.

[Murray] I just wonder if this inability to learn by experience is part of the fall. Is it... is it... is it an inherent flaw in the human condition since the fall that we are doomed to repeat the same failures time after time after time? [00:24:05]

[Rushdoony] Having the same nature, a fallen one, men...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Having the same nature, a fallen one, men are somehow confident that they can make evil work better than justice. And so they are addictive in that respect. They keep trying the same thing over and over again. And people have worked with criminals find that they are convinced it was a fluke that led to their arrest.

[Murray] Yeah. But you have all of these ... you see all of these vanished civilizations and they leave all these carvings on the wall of the temples and so forth of all of their ... the flaws in their culture and, you know, the... the evidence is there, but everybody walks on by and ignores it, falls in the same pit, generation after generation. It is... it is like ... it is like Dante’s Inferno. You know, you just... you never get out of the pit.

[Voice] Well, it is... you were just recently pointing out in our conversations, history as recently as 50 years ago we do not read about in the sense that we understand it fully. We get sensationalism out of it. We get references to things that people want us to remember from 50 years ago, but we don’t really understand the history and the evolution of ideas at that point in time.

[Murray] You know, the... the connection of events that is the key thing. The only... this guy Burke that was on public TV for a while, his technique was different than I had seen used in ... in ... in school where I went to where he linked, you know, cause and effect and...

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes, I know.

[Murray] I think... I think if, not necessarily that I go along with ... with everything that he said, but I thought that the teaching technique is a valid one.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] Because people are given so much unrelated data that means nothing. You ask the average kid. In fact, there are just last night they were interviewing some kids, you know, they are trying to ... the media is trying to... the treat oracle of wisdom is trying to tell us why the educational system is failing and they have gone out and asked them, you know, kids, what does this mean to you? And they just stare blankly or give some off the wall answer that has no relevance to the question whatsoever. And so it is obvious that the average kid in high school and even in college, in the lower division of college hasn’t got the slightest idea how to connect events in history.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Well, that is the result of fragmentation. See, that its he problem. They don’t have a true world view and that is what Christianity offers. Otherwise you have just got all of this... these unrelated facts that you are talking about. And you have a fragmented society. Then you have a society that has unrelated facts and that is what we have today. [00:27:18]

[Voice] Well, have you...[edit]

[Voice] Well, have you... have you read in the newspaper how the events in the world are related to the Christian looking glass?

[Voice] I have never seen it, Andrew. We don’t hear that. We hear fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, but we don’t see the relationships correlated, as you say, through the ... the Christian looking glass.

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] And I think that is a very important thing. I know one of the things that Rush has brought home to me is that when he {?} everything in the Christian looking glass.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] Well, that cohesiveness is no longer there now because what men have been working for is the destruction of relationships, of cause and effect. And therefore it is a do it yourself world. You can improvise. You can get along as you see fit. And who is to judge you? What is the standard?

One of the things—I have referred to this once before a few years back—that is a memorable experience was that I was at a major university and I asked how many had read Emile Durkheim. Almost everyone had.

I said, “How many of you read... have been assigned to read this particular chapter of his in The Rules of Sociological Method?” None of them. But when I discussed that chapter they immediately recognized it from everything else in Durkheim. And the gist of it was—and it is an idea that has had tremendous impact on our world. Durkheim spoke of the criminal as an evolutionary pioneer. He began by affirming the truth of evolution. All right. Most of humanity people like us are just stuffy and law abiding and therefore we are a part of the past. The evolutionary pioneers are those who forge ahead and so the criminal is the evolutionary pioneer. [00:29:54]

Now that idea has saturated our culture...[edit]

Now that idea has saturated our culture. And so the more lawless you are, the further out, the more prestige you have.

What we have been doing in this century is to drop overboard the whole of the Christian heritage.

[Voice] That is right.

[Rushdoony] So that combined... combining that with the ideas of Durkheim and others like him, that the lawless man is the pioneer, you can see where we are. If you examine our pop culture, it is the far out person who attracts youth. Some of these wild rap groups and rock groups that are made up of men who are in and out of jail with serious offenses represent this culture and their appeal to youth is precisely their lawlessness.

Now about 50, maybe a bit more than 50 years ago I was preaching at some county jails to various groups, adults, youth, male and female and so on.

The older criminals were always making some excuse, but what was noticeable, even though they were excusing themselves, they still had an idea of good and evil, right and wrong. But when we went in to talk to the youth, the juveniles, upper teens, it was an interesting experience. Now you would have a lot of blacks in such a group, but at that time it was overwhelmingly white. And the veteran guard who took me in there said, “One thing you do. Keep your distance from these and never turn your back on them.” He said, “Your older prisoners have a common sense not to risk anything unless they are going to make it work. But these kids are crazy. They have no sense of right and wrong. And give them the ghost of an opportunity and they will jump you and kill you. They will make an attempt to get out when it is hopeless. It is a totally wild and insane kind of thing.” [00:32:58]

Well, the reason for that was very clear...[edit]

Well, the reason for that was very clear. They had no idea of good and evil. Most of the schools had already dropped the Bible and prayer. They reflected that. And as a result the idea of good and evil, justice was totally ridiculous to them.

I had a long argument on another occasion and this was a little later. The young man came from a nationally prominent family. He has headed up a gang of students who in the Stanford area were perpetrating one crime after another. And the police knew they were dealing with very intelligent people. They were students. They betrayed themselves with the greed at one point where it was unwise to get something. It was too easily identifiable and traceable. But when I called on the young man in prison his argument was that given the fact of Darwin and evolution, the idea that there was good and evil in the world, right and wrong, was old hat. It belonged to my generation, his father’s and mother’s generation. It had no reality.

So he simply went back to a life of crime, a highly intelligent man who directed the operations and who believed that any short cut to wealth was valid.

Now that is what we have all around us today, the idea of good and evil is seen as a myth. Why do anything? And it leads to absurdities. People no longer have any criterion for judgment. The humorous story I told you before we began, I think, is a telling illustration of that. This 43 year old man whose 40 year old wife decided to have him killed in order to take the money he had won in a lottery. He had won over a million in one incident and 100,000 the other time. And she wanted to spend it freely without his stuffy restraints. So she hired a man to kill him. And all the police at this time became aware that she wanted a hit man and they moved in. [00:36:12]

The husband embraced his wife after she was convicted...[edit]

The husband embraced his wife after she was convicted and sent to prison for 25 to 30 years, something like that. Said he was going to be waiting for her and he still loved her. And then he became very angry with his wife, because he found that her down payment on the ... to the hit man was only 25 dollars. And he felt that he was worth more than that.

Now that is amusing because think of the trifle that he became indignant about. People today no longer consider good and evil as important things to consider. Trifles govern them.

[Voice] You know, you have got to remember, too, that the ... the wicked have to borrow Christian premises...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... to keep any order in society.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] So they can’t really consistently act on what you were talking about, Rush. I mean, some people within the society can, but if everybody acted according to his lawless presuppositions, we would have total anarchy. So they have to borrow from the Christian presuppositions and from the residue of Christian heritage and Christian culture. And they do so inconsistently, of course. They could never live according to their presuppositions.

[Rushdoony] That reminds me of something that I mentioned to you the other day, Paul. The film of about 30 or so years ago, 30, 35 by the Swedish actress, a producer and director.

[off mic voice]

[Rushdoony] Yes, Bergman’s husband.

[Voice] La Dolce Vita

[Rushdoony] La Dolce Vita, yes. It did everything to mock anything that was Christian, godly, decent and so on. And yet in the last scene two of the homosexuals particularly, contemptible figures suddenly raise the question. Wouldn’t it be horrible if everyone were like us? In other words, there would be no one and nothing to sin against. And we have a society that is determined to destroy everything that is godly. But it couldn’t exist without the godly. It needs them both to provide some kind of order, some kind of functioning and also because their hostility requires somebody to sin against. [00:39:19]

[Voice] Which is to say that the ungodly are parasitic...[edit]

[Voice] Which is to say that the ungodly are parasitic.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes. They are parasitic.

[Voice] When you speak of the parasitic activities of... of other justice systems, so to speak, there are... there are two things that I ... I think we as Christians have to be very careful of. I speak... well, first of all, if I believe that there could be a godly law in Confucianism or Buddhism or what have you, then I wouldn’t be a Christian as I am today. But the moment you ask me to live by the standards of other countries through the Hague court, through United Nations involvement in foreign countries, you are asking me to give up my Christianity, my concept of Christian justice.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... my concept of godly law. Those are things that we need to cling to rather than say cavalierly, “Well, I guess that is necessary.” And you are going to have to take a stand in this life about things that make a difference.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Voice] So the godly law is very important and the diminution of your own Christian faith is not how you move forward. We can have tolerance without accommodation.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Voice] We don’t have to accept to tolerate. And I ... I just give. ... sometimes we are just a little bit too easy as Christians on things we should just grab on to and... and refuse to give up.

[Murray] Well, if our... you know, the American style of ... of getting rid of something is to marginalize it, isolate it and submerge it in... in a sea of contemporaries. You have the American... the U S government recognizing every kind of ... of so-called religion and cult and so forth as a ... as a valid religion and thereby diluting, attempting to dilute in the public mind the prominence of Christianity. They recognize Satanism as a legitimate religion, devil worship, voodoo, you name it.

[Voice] You are right.

[Voice] The U S government has recognized all of these so-called cult practices as ... as valid religions with... with equal, quote, civil rights.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... under our government.

[Rushdoony] Yes. One of... yes, excuse me.

[Voice] Go ahead. [00:41:55]

[Rushdoony] One of the land mark cases that is now...[edit]

[Rushdoony] One of the land mark cases that is now totally neglected and if you read about it in any book on law its significance is not appreciated was the case of Reynolds in which an attempt was made to vindicate Mormon polygamy in the name of religious freedom. And it was a really difficult case for the supreme court of the day, because they were not ready to—that particular court—make a religious statement and yet as they wrestled with the issue what came loud and clear to them was you cannot have an unrestricted freedom of religion, because religion expresses itself in ethics, morality. And every kind of practice was vindicated by some religion or other. They went especially to India where, for example, with the thuggies, theft and murder were legitimate. They cited other instances where every kind of sexual practice was legitimate where the murder of groups that opposed you was legitimate. So they made a quick tour around the world and said that there is scarcely a crime anywhere that is not somewhere vindicated religiously by some cult or group.

So they said there cannot be such a toleration of religion, because since the law reflects the morality of a religion, you have got to have a congruity of the religion of a society and its law.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] One expresses the other. So they refused to accommodate Mormon polygamy.

Well, now, of course, what they are doing is to accommodate anything and everything except Christianity. So they are working towards a total break down of law.

While he was still alive and on the bench, Justice Douglas of the U S Supreme Court was ready to speak favorably of ... of the rights of cannibals to practice their cannibalism. And he was ready to vindicate anything on religious grounds.

[Voice] They have an Egalitarianism of all acts and views.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Except for orthodox Christianity. And that, by the way, is one of the real dangers of pure democracy which de Tocqueville pointed out so well.’

[Rushdoony] Let me say that Reynolds case, one of the few groups in the United States that have paid attention to it has been the ACLU. Back in the 20s they recognized its implications or at least one of their writers did and they have been working towards that kind of legal anarchism in which they will defend any practice accept Christianity.

[Voice] The... a real ... which I say noticeable flag when I listen to people where I... I am speaking mostly to political figures right now, because I think of Bill Clinton praying in church, but if people base their experiences and its acceptability on the Bible as one thing, but if they base their belief in the Bible on their experiences, it is an entirely different... {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And that is... that is the difference between godly law and man’s law.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And I don’t see that coming forth in our political figures or our government. I am... I am really disappointed sometimes when I hear things they say, because I see them judging their experiences not by the light of the Bible, but judging the Bible’s godly laws in light of their personal experiences and what they feel is acceptable.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] They are their own gods.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] That is all too common.

[Voice] Especially in our generation it is judge in light of their experience. You know, their feelings and you talk about the Calvinistic conception which is to say the biblical conception of God and people have said things like, “Well, I don’t like that kind of God,” or, “That isn’t the God that I serve.”

You talk to them about biblical law and they say, “Well, that is tyrannical.”

I say, “Are you saying God is a tyrant? What are you trying to say?”

But they have made up their minds beforehand of the God that they want to serve and of the faith that they want to have and they try to conform the Bible to their a priori conceptions in their mind.

[Rushdoony] Well, according to orthodox Judaism there are 613 laws in the Bible. We would say not so many because they divide a law sometimes into two and three parts.

Now, of those 613 a fair percentage are enforceable only by God. He does not allow men to enforce them because they would be then tyrannical. A limited number are enforceable by men. These are primarily concerned with life, marriage, property, reputation. Now the consequence is that life under God’s law is one of very remarkable freedom. [00:48:21]

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] You only have a handful of laws that govern you. But men don’t want that. They want power over each other.

[Voice] They prefer a man’s tyranny than God’s freedom.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] That is exactly right. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] But man’s burden is ... is very heavy. And yet men are so depraved that they would prefer the chains of their own actions rather than the submission to God which gives much greater liberation.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes.

[Murray] When was the.... the pledge of allegiance of the United States, it was changed, the wording was changed.

[Rushdoony] Yes. It was changed to include “under God.”

[Voice] That was in the 50s, wasn’t it or 40s?

[Murray] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] Actually it was because when originally written it did not include that. However, when I was in grade school at the beginning of the 20s, I can remember that the words were there. It had become almost universally used at least in the areas that I knew anything or had any experience.

So it was legally included in the 50s, but I can remember standing in rows before the steps of Washington school when we had the morning pledge of allegiance and reciting the words and because they all came from a strong churches and Christian families the children would boom out, “Under God.”

[Murray] But with liberty and justice for all.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] As a result of that being included.

[Voice] You were talking earlier on the other side of the tape about prisons and the lack of justice in prisons. I... you know, I just discovered not long ago that the idea of the penitentiary was largely a Quaker idea...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... in Pennsylvania the idea of a place to go to ... in England. A place to go to be penitent. Well, that itself, is an assault on the idea of justice, because justice is not concerned mainly with making people penitent. Certainly the Holy Spirit can do that. But justice is concerned with adherence to the law, breaking the law or adherence to the law.

But it is interesting. It has become something very different from that.

[Rushdoony] Prison cells...

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] The word cell originally mean the room in which a monk...

[Voice] That is right.

[Rushdoony] ...slept and prayed and the inner light, the Quakers held, would bring these prisoners to know God in themselves and therefore they would be changed. [00:51:33]

[Voice] Yes and today we secularization of that idea...[edit]

[Voice] Yes and today we secularization of that idea in the rehabilitation. You know, you go to prison to be rehabilitated or... but justice in the Bible is not concerned with that. God certainly does rehabilitate certain people, but that is not the idea of justice.

[Voice] Justice is law.

[Rushdoony] Restitution.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Restitution.

[Murray] Yet the recidivism rate is something like 83 percent and climbing.

[Rushdoony] The... the law as we have it today is an anti Christian development the purpose of which has been to shift the law from the Bible to the state. Juries at one time decided, as I have said often, cases out of the Bible here in this country. And under those circumstances ignorance of the law was no excuse. We have destroyed the idea of law in this country.

One of the great books written in recent years which nobody will agree with perfectly, but which is all important is Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution. And, of course, his point is that the idea of law in the western world comes out of Christianity, out of the doctrine of the atonement whereby Christ makes restitution for us to God by paying the death penalty for us and the criminal must either make restitution by death or by either giving up to five fold for his offense or working it out as a bondservant. And that prevailed to about 1830 in the United States. Then we adopted the Quaker idea that had been so propagated in England.

Well, one of the great figures in the so called prison reform was the Quakerist Elizabeth Fry. It is very interesting to read the account of her life, a remarkably dedicated woman. But she began with a false premise. She thought she had done a great work that was going to revolutionize the future by creating the prison system. But it was her faith in the inner light that every man supposedly has, a peace of God which is Pantheism, that led to her thinking and the results have been devastating. [00:54:42]

Our time is almost over...[edit]

Our time is almost over. Does anyone have a final comment or two they would like to make?

[Voice] Just want to mention again that justice biblically is synonymous with righteousness and...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ...biblically it means adherence to the standard of God’s law. it is not something subjective. It is something that is objective in the Word of God.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] There can only be justice from God’s law. What we have today is judicial tyranny, ruling by judicial decree and its totalitarian system which doesn't contain justice any longer.

[Voice] Well, if we are all vigilant and if we are all vigorous about trying to keep an eye on the ball and make sure these people don’t slip away from us, I think we have to make sure the people that try to diminish God’s law are identified, separated out of the system if they become a part of the system and we try to get people in who are godly and will understand God’s law and try to live by it.

[Voice] Let’s end on an optimistic note. The Bible prophecies that one day the law shall go forth out of Zion and that one day the law of God will prevail one day in the earth as the result of the work of the Holy Spirit of God and the faithfulness of the people of God.

[Rushdoony] Well, an encouraging fact is the intensity of faith, attacks and criticisms on me of having said that we must return to God’s law. It really upsets people And the liberals do everything they can to treat me as a kind of international menace.

Well, if it weren’t for the fact that the... in spite of all their statements the whole concept of God’s law governing us is catching on with people.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Is really a ... upsetting them. There are too many state legislators from coast to coast that have picked upon this, because they know what they have is bankrupt. [00:57:03]

I know that a congressman ...[edit]

I know that a congressman 30 years ago told me when I was speaking in, oh, chambers there in one of their meeting rooms, to a group of congressmen. He said, “Nothing else works. Everything else we have tried is a failure. Maybe we ought to try biblical law.”

And he was not a Christian, as far as I could tell. He was just a man who saw the prevailing failure of every other concept of law.

Well, our time is up. Thank you all for listening and God bless you.