Who was Rousas John “R.J.” Rushdoony?

A collection of his writings & sayings

Parenting, Marriage, & Family

Note: Rousas John Rushdoony passed away in 2001, just two years after Vision Forum was launched. Many of the other individuals included on this website sought to use Vision Forum to build their own platforms, using its influence to increase their own. In the case of Rushdoony, the inverse is far more accurate.

It is also worth noting that most of the quotes on this page are from the 1960s through the 1980s, and were therefore addressing the specific culture and politics of those decades.

On Men & Womens’ Sins:

“Man’s sin is to attempt to usurp God’s authority, and woman’s sin is to attempt to usurp man’s authority, and both attempts are a deadly futility.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1) page 167

On Love & Submission:

“[W]hile the family and dominion therein are a part of man’s calling and a very important part thereof, it is far from being the totality of his calling. Whereas the woman’s calling is in terms of her husband and the family, the man’s calling is in terms of the vocation he assumes under God.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1) page 349

On the Morality of Lying to Social Workers:

“We owe the truth to God, and to courts of justice, and to godly men. We do not owe it to anyone who is going to use it to do evil.…

“I know of an actual case where one man in the ministry was accused of spanking a child, and the police came to take away the children, and the wife said, ‘Oh of course, I don’t agree with my husband on this, and I’m against it.’ Whereas, she did more spanking actually than he did. Otherwise, the children would have been taken from her, and she told me, ‘I saved my children from evil homes because, in my community, the foster homes are uniformly terrible places, and that’s where my children would have been placed,’ and she said, ‘I knew that social worker, and what an ungodly and immoral woman she was. I didn’t owe her the truth, and I saved my children.’”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Children Disinheriting Themselves:

“Our parents especially, who provide for us and nurture us, are to be honored above all others, for, if we do not do so, we both sin against God and we disinherit ourselves. As we shall see later, there is a close connection between disinheritance in a family estate and the dishonoring of parents, the rejecting of their honor and their cultural heritage. The basic and central inheritance of culture and all that it includes, faith, training, wisdom, wealth, love, common ties, and traditions are severed and denied where parents and elders are not honored. The tragic fact is that many parents refuse to recognize that their children have disinherited themselves.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 169

On Bringing Children to Church:

“But in many schools in major cities, parents are the object of attack by the counselors who have assured children that ‘if your parent is too restrictive and makes you go to church, we can see to it that you are put into a foster home.’ There are also cases where the courts have implemented this type of thinking in their decision, ruling against parents in favor of delinquent children.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On “Cross-Cultural Marriages”:

“To return to the Biblical doctrine, a wife is her husband’s helpmeet. Since Eve was created from Adam and is Adam’s reflected image of God,she was of Adam and an image of Adam as well, his “counterpart.”The meaning of this is that a true helpmeet is man’s counterpart, that a cultural, racial, and especially religious similarity is needed so that the woman can truly mirror the man and be his image… Cross-cultural marriages are thus normally a failure.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 357

On Love & Submission:

“Another significant fact appears in St. Paul’s Ephesian declaration: although Scripture repeatedly assumes and cites love as an aspect of a woman’s relationship to her husband, love is not cited here by St. Paul with reference to the wife and her reaction to her husband. The primacy is given to submission by the wife, and love by the husband. The husband’s love, however, is defined as service, and it is compared to the redemptive work of Christ for His church (Eph. 5:22-29). Thus, the husband’s evidence of love is his wise and loving government of his household, whereas the wife demonstrates her love in submission. In both cases, submission and authority are governed, not by the wishes of the parties involved, but by the law-word of God.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1) page 343-344

On Parents Approving Their Daughter’s Spouse:

“[T]he Hebrew word for bridegroom means “the circumcised,” the Hebrew word for father-in-law means he who performed the operation of circumcision, and the Hebrew word for mother-in-law is similar. This obviously had no reference to the actual physical rite, since Hebrew males were circumcised on the eighth day. What it meant was that the father-in-law ensured the fact of spiritual circumcision, as did the mother-in-law, making sure of the covenantal status of the groom. It was their duty to prevent a mixed marriage. A man could marry their daughter, and become a bridegroom, only when clearly a man under God.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1) page 349 – 350

On Debt Being Covetous Idolatry:

“A high incidence of debt-free property indicates a high degree of godly living which is both provident and free of covetousness, for it is covetousness that breeds debt-living… A man who covets property of various kinds but cannot live debt-free is not seeking property on godly terms but on covetous terms. In Colossians 3:5, St. Paul defines evil covetousness as idolatry, and he declares that it is a sin that we must mortify or destroy in ourselves. Such covetousness seeks to exalt the man and to increase his possessions, but because it grounds itself on sin rather than God’s law, it is destructive of both man and property. Those who move in terms of God’s word become the blessed meek, the tamed of God, of whom the Psalmist says, ‘The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.’ (Ps. 37:11).”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 85

On “Welfare Families”:

“Where the family is not self-supporting, there is neither power nor authority in the person of the father. Welfare families, from the days of the Roman Empire to the present, have been notorious for the undisciplined, immoral, and delinquent characters, and welfare families have always been marked by a general lack of masculine authority.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 101

On Wives Being Less of a Priority Than Husband’s Vocation:

“While love is important to a marriage, it cannot replace God’s law as the essential bond of marriage. Moreover, a woman can make no greater mistake than to assume that she can take priority in her husband’s life over his work. He will love her with a personal warmth and tenderness as no other person, but a man’s life is his work, not his wife, and the failure of women to understand this can do serious harm to a marriage.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 352

On the Family Controlling Marriage:

“Now where the family controls inheritance, it also controls marriage. This Friedrich Engels noted in his study of The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. But the Bible long ago plainly recorded it. When Jacob became the heir, his father Isaac ‘blessed him and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan’ (Gen 28:1). In other words, the father had the power to require a godly marriage; because Isaac was leaving a sizable inheritance, he had a stake in the future, and because he had a stake in that future, he had a right to control it by requiring a godly marriage. This was a legitimate and godly power…

“Where the father possesses private property and provides for his children’s care and future, and controls their inheritance, it is the authority of the father which governs the family.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 96-97

On Children as Parasites:

“Is it any wonder that many are refusing to be parents under these conditions? Parenthood today is an absurdity by law; the child is a legally protected parasite.

“Not only is the child made a lifelong parasite, but our society makes adolescence a legitimate form of insanity. We have come to associate adolescence with rebelliousness and emotionalism, and we consider this to be naturally a time of stress in a person’s life. But this is not true of every culture, nor was it once true of our own. Adolescence has often been in history a particularly proud and happy age, the time of maturity. It is a mentally sick and spiritually sinful adolescence that wants independence while being subsidized by the parents.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 138

On Kindergarten:

“Kindergarten… has proven to be in part a polite and oblique form of infanticide, one which hypocritical women can indulge in while getting credit for solicitous motherhood.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Messianic Character of American Education” Page 282

Screenshot from Vision Forum Ministries email sent out when Howard Phillips passed away

On Family Governance:

“The family is, sociologically and religiously, the basic institution: man’s first and truest government, school, state, and church. Man’s basic emotional and psychic needs are met in terms of the family. Man, the image of God, here exercises dominion as a priest in Christ, his wife a helpmeet that he might fulfil his image mandate. The fifth commandment, call for honor of parents, is properly in the first table of the law, being associated with Godward duties and the love of God….

“To disobey any true authority is to disobey God, but especially so with parents. Contempt of the home is a contempt of God, and rebellion against parents is associated with rebellion against God. Psychologically the two are linked. The typology of the home, its relationship typically to the fatherhood of God and to the headship of Christ over his church is deeply written in the constitution of man. Inevitably, rebellion against one is rebellion against the other. Thus the authority of the home is of tremendous significance.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 44

On Modern Child-Rearing:

“To have a child now is no longer an act of nature but a matter of painful research. ‘Essential’ education is in terms of the needs of the child, not in terms of the requirements of God and society. The consequences, of course, are children who are group-directed and consumption-centered, whose attitude toward life is one of appetite rather than responsibility.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 75

On Chastening Children:

“Chastening was an act of grace on God’s part and a manifestation of care and government on the part of parents and school. That this chastening was faulty, and itself affected by the old Adam in the chastener at times, goes without saying, but that it was indeed a manifestation of love and concern is equally certain.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 76

Rushdoony & Vision Forum:

“Vision Forum stressed ‘the necessity of building large family dynasties, generations of families with six, eight, ten or more children’ that will ‘raise a godly seed for Christ and the salvation of America.’. While Phillips spoke of ‘dominion vision’ in an explicitly Rushdoonian sense, he downplayed Reconstructionist language in the ministry.”

– Michael J. McVicar
“Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Conservatism”  page 222-223


On Education:

“…The purpose of Christian education is not academic: it is religious and practical.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“The Philosophy of Christian Curriculum” page 25

On Evolution:

“The myth of evolution, a modern form of an ancient cultural myth, must be challenged in the name of Biblical creationism, without any apology or hesitancy, and without any concessions. The creation of all things by God in six days is the plain statement of Scripture. It is the necessary premise, the foundation, of Biblical faith.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 49

On Girls Having More Teachers than Solely their Father:

“A particularly brilliant scholar, Dr. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy has spoken of the radical polytheism of modern life. Where a girl’s faith was once monotheistic in that she shared the faith and was brought up under the authority of her father, having no other doctrines or values than his, now she is exposed in school and college to a variety of antagonistic creeds and doctrines. ‘A modern girl’s education is polytheistic.’ Thus man marries, not ‘one man’s daughter, but many men’s pupil,’ the product of ‘an unknown number of gods, deities, ideals, demons, powers.’ ‘Girls are exposed to a destruction of their sound instinct by all the false prophets of a golden-calf society.’”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 45-46

On Gendered Education:

“It is interesting that what we have today in modern education brings about a confusion of gender. They educate both boys and girls as though there were no difference between the two….

“…as though it were invidious to mention the fact of sexual differences. Now that sort of thing warps boys and girls from their earliest years. They are not taught to be respectful. The old attitude did not demean women. Rather it treated them with respect and every boy was taught that it was his duty to be protective of girls.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On the Knowledge of the Believer vs. the Unbeliever:

“Thus we must say to the unbeliever, ‘For all your learning, you know nothing.’ On the other hand, a consistently Christian education, having this concept of the unity of learning, must more specifically affirm, to be a Christian, and have an unction from the Holy One, means to know all things in principle.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 29

On Public School Destroying the Biblical Family:

“If you control the children in any society, you control the future. This is why the modern State created the public school. A new thing, less than two centuries old; only a century and a half and not quite that in the United States. In the South, it was imposed as a part of Reconstruction to break up the old faith, the Reformed faith and the old-fashioned Christian family in the South. That was its purpose, in case you didn’t know it. But its purpose everywhere has been to destroy the biblical doctrine of the family, to create a way of controlling the children, altering their thinking, alienating them from their parents, creating what you have today outside of the faith; the generation gap. This is the basic power, one of the three great powers in any society; control of the children.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

Church & Government

On God’s authority over all:

“Many conservatives are deeply concerned with the reclamation of the public and private realms from the state, but as Christians we must add that the basic distinction is not between public and private realms, but between God’s total claim on every realm, and the rebellious man’s attempt to exclude God from every realm. No sphere of life belongs to man or the state but all belong to God, all things must be done according to His word, and for His glory. The state, the church, persons, schools, the arts and sciences, all must serve Him. We have no private sphere apart from Him, nor any area for our exclusive functioning, we are His possession.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On the Reliability of our Justice System & Death Penalties:

“Now of course as we consider the death penalty, one of the questions that always comes upand it is well to consider it now by way of conclusionis that our biblical system of law enforcement, death penalty, imprisonment, so often gets innocent people killed. That innocent people are always being executed or sent to prison. What are the facts? The reality is that as you go across the country and study the indictments and the consequent results of those indictments, that by and large our courts and our district attorneys are so careful that an average of seventy to eighty percent indictments result in a guilty plea. In other words, the person indicted is so obviously guilty that seventy to eighty percent of the persons who were indicted plead guilty.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Nepotism:

“The Bible does not treat nepotism as a crime but rather as a moral necessity. If nepotism is a crime and a moral wrong, then we are condemning God, who in some cases specifically required or commanded it.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 156

On Limited Voting:

“In colonial New England, the covenantal concept of church and state was applied. Everyone went to church, but only a limited number had voting rights in the church and therefore in the state, because there was a coincidence of church membership and citizenship. The others were no less believers, but the belief was that only the responsible must be given responsibility. One faith, one law, and one standard of justice did not mean democracy. The heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state, and it has worked towards reducing society to anarchy.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 102

On Stoning Children & the Death Penalty for Repeat Crimes:

“First, I believe it’s God’s law. Second, most people will say, with regard to that, ‘Oh, you believe in stoning little children.’ Well, that’s ridiculous. That’s not what it’s about. In fact, it speaks of a rebellious son. Incidentally, in the New Testament, the word ‘children’ applies to anyone under thirty. Our Lord calls his disciples ‘little children.’ They were grown men, married men.

“Now, what that law of Deuteronomy specifies is that the habitual criminal is to be put to death, and the family is to side with the Lord rather than with their blood, with faith rather than blood. Now, that law has been very, very deeply embedded in the law of the Western world, and until 1972, was on the books of some states in the United States, and before World War II, prevailed in virtually every state. Now, the states varied on the application of it, but the variation was this: whether it was the third or fourth conviction that established whether a man was a habitual criminal, in which case he was executed, even if the theft were only a $20 theft, but he had established, by a pattern of crime, that he was a habitual criminal and set in his ways, and therefore, he paid the death penalty.

“When I grew up, no one thought that was anything but good sense, and those who knew where it came from in God’s law took it for granted that it should be obeyed, but it has reference to an incorrigible delinquent or criminal. Well, now that we have made that law no longer binding by Supreme Court action in 1972, we have a growing problem of more and more crime, and more and more habitual criminals, and the average murderer now gets less than six years in the United States, which means he’s out to commit another crime, and there are rapists who are out in a few months, and rape again and again and nothing is done about it.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Capital Punishment Being Required of the State:

“As a result, from the Christian perspective capital punishment is not an option of the state, not a matter where civil government has a choice. The state has an ironclad law, the law of God, which it must obey, because the execution of criminals who incur the death penalty is required of the state at the penalty of the state’s own life if it disobeys.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 11


On Christianity:

“Christianity has by and large been debased into vague and sentimental love of man, a reduction of God into love alone, and an anarchistic conception of the requirements of love.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 24

On the Impossibility of Living Apart from God:

“In terms of these neglected biblical presuppositions, it is an impossibility for man to deny God and still to have law and order, justice, science, anything, apart from God. The more man and society depart from God, the more they depart from all reality, the more they are caught in the net of self-contradiction and self-frustration, the more they are involved in the will to destruction and the love of death (Prov. 8:36). ‘By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.’ ‘All they that hate me love death.’ For man to turn his back on God, therefore, is to turn towards death; it involves ultimately the renunciation of every aspect of life. Thus, every government, whether it be a Christian state or not, cannot live apart from God. In so far as it has any kind of law and order, any kind of justice, it is a traitor to itself, because it thereby affirms God. Likewise, every science, however it may outwardly deny God, if it asserts that there is fundamental structure and law in the universe, as exemplified for instance in the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is a traitor to itself, because while denying God, it works in terms of fundamental structures which are an impossibility apart from God.

“To deny God, man must ultimately deny that there is any law, or reality.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education” page 27-28

On Church and State Being Under God:

“Because Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords politics as man’s savior is doomed. Church and state must take their rightful and limited place under Him and in obedience to Him. The government must be upon Christ’s shoulders and as members of His family partaking of His table we must share in that government. The primary governmental powers were not given by our Lord to institutions but to us and the family is the center thereof. In one sphere of life after the other we are to govern as God’s people by applying His law Word to every area of life and thought. Not of politics or of polity by other men over us but the grace of God and His Holy Spirit within us is the answer.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

Screenshot from 2007 Vision Forum Catalog 

On Church and State Being Under God:

“The court is a religious establishment. For the court to function, the religion of the court must also be the religion of the people. If the moral discipline is not in the hearts of the people, no revolution can put it there,nor give it to the courts. Instead of moral discipline, the result is terror. If men will not obey God, they will not obey men: they will then require the gallows and the gun as the necessary instruments of order. Their protests against the new order they have created by their lawlessness are as morally unfounded as that new order, and less effective. This new order then has one destiny—to kill and to be killed.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 633

On Executing “Incorrigible and Habitual Criminals”:

“Clearly, then, the intent of this law is that all incorrigible and habitual criminals be executed. If a criminal son is to be executed, how much more so a neighbor or fellow Hebrew who has become an incorrigible criminal? If the family must align itself with the execution of an incorrigibly delinquent son, will it not demand the death of an habitual criminal in the community?”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 191

Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law:

“In total, Rushdoony outlined seventeen crimes that civil authorities in a biblical order would punish with execution. Many of the offenses relate to violations of the first commandment, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’ God decrees death in cases involving blasphemy, propagating false doctrines, sacrificing to foreign gods, and witchcraft. Another class of capital offenses included refusing to recognize a court ruling or failing to pay restitution for a crime. These violations marked rebellion against the community’s law-order. Of all the crimes, however, Rushdoony spent most of the book outlining those that amounted to war against the family and therefore necessitated death. Murder, cursing a parent, kidnapping, adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, rape, and habitual delinquency all struck out against teh propagative, future-oriented nature of the family. Death was necessary in these cases because each crime asserted the sovereignty of humanity over God’s law.

“Death penalties for offenses against the family, Rushdoony told his readers, ‘seem severe and unnecessary’ to a ‘humanistic mind,’ which values human life higher than God’s law. Humanism, humanity’s ultimate sin, uses ‘church, state, and school’ to wage ‘religious war’ against Christianity and God’s law. ‘The struggle is between God’s absolute justice and His law-order and man’s lawless self-assertion of autonomy’. In this sense, the death penalty–whether enacted by a civil magistrate or through the miraculous overflowing of God’s divine wrath–is God’s ultimate check against humanity’s autonomy. The result, then, is ‘unceasing warfare’ between humanistic law and biblical law.”

– Michael J. McVicar
“Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Conservatism” page 130-131


Crime in Cities:

“Well, when we were boys there was crime in a certain number of big cities, notably Chicago. But in most of the country you still had the prevalence of an old-fashioned Christian culture. Even to 1950 you could walk the streets of New York at any time of the day or night and any part of the city including the slums and you were safe.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

Churches in the Wild West:

“Most of the so-called Wild West towns, Tombstone, Dodge City, and so forth were wild for about a year. After that they were church-oriented communities.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Benjamin Franklin:

“During the War for Independence, the subversives ostensibly on the American side were undoubtedly many. It now is maintained that Benjamin Franklin was a British agent during the entire struggle.

“At least through the War of 1812, the number of British and French agents in America were numerous, but the basic health of the leadership, and a sufficient element of men of character, plus the grace of God, enabled the American cause to prosper in the face of radical subversion.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 1), page 643

“Under God”:

“When the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, that law was a plan for the future of the federal government under God.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 35

On Female Criminals:

“Well, I have mentioned this before and it is worth repeating. For a long time in American history, well into the last century, if a woman committed a crime, her husband went to jail, because it was felt that he had failed in his responsibilities. And the same was true of children. In other words, the father was expected to exercise authority and he paid a price.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On the Holocaust:

“The false witness born during World War II with respect to Germany is especially notable and revealing. The charge is repeatedly made that six million innocent Jews were slain by the Nazis, and the figure – and even larger figures – is now entrenched in the history books. Poncins, in summarizing the studies of the French Socialist, Paul Rassinier, himself a prisoner in Buchenwald, states:

‘Rassinier reached the conclusion that the number of Jews who died after deportation is approximately 1,200,000 and this figure, he tells us, has finally been accepted as valid by the Centre Mondial de Documentation Juive Contemporaine. Likewise he notes that Paul Hilberg, in his study of the same problem, reached a total of 896,292 victims.’

“Very many of these people died of epidemics; many were executed.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“The Institutes of Biblical Law” Volume I – Source

Note: The Institutes of Biblical Law was published in 1973. In the year 2000, Rushdoony addressed the above quote by saying: “It was not my purpose to enter a debate over numbers, whether millions were killed, or tens of millions, an area which must be left to others with expertise in such matters. My point then and now is that in all such matters what the Ninth Commandment requires is the truth, not exaggeration, irrespective of the cause one seeks to serve.”

Screenshot from 2007 Vision Forum Catalogue

On American Slavery:

“The treatment of the slaves on the whole was good and indulgent. They were valued private property. Most of the slaves were unwilling to see slavery end. They followed their masters around and expected continued care.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Slave Ships:

“…the Negro did not suffer as a result of coming to the United States. He became the most privileged Negro in the world! And we need have no guilty feelings with respect to him. But, we are told, they suffered so! The slave ships were frightful! And the heartbreaking agony of the journey, the brutal treatment, the number who died on the slave ships- this is a frightful incidence in history!

“Well indeed you can find instances of slave ships which gave very, very, poor treatment to the slaves as they carried them across, instances where a sizable proportion of the cargo died en-route and were tossed overboard. This is true.

“But this is NOT the rule! The slaves were valuable property, they were therefore important as merchandise; they had to be kept alive. They were brought to the U.S. to be sold, and when they arrived here they were cared for to make sure their appearance was the best possible appearance in order to make their sale easier.

“So that we cannot take the unusual cases and overlook the reality that because they were valuable cargo they were well-treated. As a matter of fact, if we compare their treatment to that of the immigrants -notably the Irish- the role of the Negro is not too bad by comparison. ”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Slave Owners “Penalized”:

“And the slave owner was penalized by the fact that he owned slaves. For example Alexander Hamilton Stevens, vice president of the confederacy, had a number of slaves. And of these slaves he had a fair number of whom were pensioners-elderly folk whom he had to take care of. This meant that some of the other slaves were taking care of the older slaves as well as the little ones. So out of his slaves he had two, one man -his valet- and one woman -his cook- who gave him any labor, and their labor was limited since they had a single man to care for.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

Dabney & Rushdoony:

“There remains one more important thinker in Rushdoony’s conceptualization of a biblical society: Southern Presbyterian theologian R. L. Dabney. Dabney was the premier theologian of Southern Presbyteriansim; an apologist for slavery; and a defender of the agrarian, patriarchal ways of life that characterized the Old South. By most accounts, Dabney’s influence had waned when C. Peter Singer and Rushdoony resurrected his work in the middle of the twentieth century. Yet Dabney has been called prophetic by Reconstructionists from Rushdoony to Doug Phillips.”

– Julie J. Ingersoll
“Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism” – Page 16

On Slaves in the South Hardly Qualifying as Slaves:

“As for slavery, the Bible says that men, apart from Christ, apart from the Lord, are all slaves. They’re in slavery to sin where all slavery begins. It says that no believer is to be a slave, and we have not abolished slavery, we with all our civilization. It is more prevalent now than ever before. The only difference is that today, most slavery is state-owned slavery. Think of all the slaves behind the Iron Curtain. Right now, there are slave markets in Africa, buying up black natives and shipping them to East Germany, among other places probably, to be sold to the factories to work as slaves until they die, and for that matter, when there was serfdom in Europe, the serfs only had to give twenty-five percent to their income to their lord. We pay far more in taxes now to local state and federal governments, far more. The serfs would have thought our lives were slavery, and as for the Negros in the South, statisticians have computed the fact that they retained ninety percent of what they produced. Hardly what you would call slavery, if we could only have to pay ten percent to the federal government.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

Politics & Culture

On the Civil Rights act:

“Well, we are going to see prosecutions for any excuse; any church member who files a suit against the church, you’ll see all kinds of help [from the government] to enable him to prosecute the church. You are going to see attempts to strike at the church by demanding the ordination of women, and of homosexuals, a letting down of the bars where homosexuals are concerned….

“It will be to extend the Civil Rights act in its application to the church, in other words no discrimination in terms of race, color, or creed; or sexual preference or anything else.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On the Bible Requiring the Death Penalty for Gays (But Not Lesbians?):

“Let us turn now to the scriptures. One thing that is very clear cut is that the Bible without reservation is emphatic in its condemnation of homosexuality, and requires the death penalty….

“The penalty that God requires is death. A Godly order will enforce it. A homosexual culture such as we have today, works to remove it.

“One further aspect of the law as against homosexuality, one aspect of it, lesbianism, that of female homosexuality, the same evil, is called an uncleanness in scripture, and instead of incurring the death penalty, incurs instead divorce, is grounds for divorce, Deuteronomy 24:1, and of course excommunication. Why not the death penalty for women?

“First of all, we have seen previously that the scripture says that man’s greater authority means greater moral responsibility, and therefore greater guilt in sinning. Today our culture is topsy-turvy. The adultery of the man is not regarded as seriously as that of the woman, but in terms of scripture, because the man has the greater authority, his guilt is greater. Second, because homosexuality is an expression of apostasy, men cannot in good conscience punish that which their own abdication of moral authority encourages.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Playboy, Rape, and Children’s Rights:

“Men have rebelled against God and chosen freedom from responsibility as their ideal. Playboy, one of the most successful magazines in history, sees man, not in the image of God, but in the image of a bunny, an aging child’s version of the rabbit, a carefree, nonproductive, nonworking, copulator. Women have rebelled against men, and, in a world with a skyrocketing amount of rape, only a small fraction of which is reported, women seek less protection and more exposure as the answer to all problems. Children are encouraged to see themselves as the equal of adults, with equal bargaining powers and rights, when the basic right of the child is to obey godly authorities which will lead him into godly maturity. It is a right of the child to have godly authority in home, church, school, state, and community, because it is that godly authority which will best equip him for maturity, responsibility, and authority.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Institutes of Biblical Law” (Vol. 2), page 146

On Rising Suicide Rates:

“But today suicide is the number two cause of death among college students, and the number three cause of death among those aged fifteen to nineteen years. The reasons given by suicidal persons in their notes are of particular interest: they are uniformly trivial. Old and young routinely kill themselves for the most insignificant and trifling reasons.

“It is obvious from this that their recorded reasons are not their real reasons. Because they are sinners, they are guilt-ridden, and guilt-ridden people are driven by the will to death. As a result, almost any pretext will do to drive them to suicide, because they are already driven there continually from within.”

– R.J. Rushdoony
“Law & Liberty” page 192

On Child Labor:

“Well, I think here the federal government has to bear some of the blame and people who foolishly did not see what was happening. The child labor law. Now certainly some of the examples of child labor deserved some kind of correction, but what they have done is to make it difficult to employ children. There is too much red tape involved. And the result is children today don’t have the discipline of work.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On Feminism:

“Otto Scott and I are now going to discuss the subject of Feminism. This is a very important subject in our time especially because we have such a militant movement that has been in action since Betty Friedan wrote her book The Feminine Mystique. Now at the time it was written no one would have envisioned what came out of that book, because so many of us read it and found it laughable. The same was true of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Both books were full of so many absurd statements, so much nonsense that it was hard to believe that out of them could come the militant movement that arose. And, of course, it was marked by the absurdities that are almost too many to name.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

On a “Cultural Indian”:

“I recall vividly when one fourth grader was picked up drunk and taken before the Indian court and rebuked by the woman judge for his behavior and for his drinking. And he was astonished. He said, ‘But I have been drinking all my life.’ And it was probably close to the truth.

“Let me add something. That boy was a handsome blonde, blue-eyed youngster. He looked like he was a Scandinavian, but, you see, culturally he was an Indian. His behavior was Indian. And so quite logically having nothing but an Indian culture to grow up in, his reactions were Indian. His lack of self discipline was again Indian.”

– R.J. Rushdoony

Rushdoony’s Influence & Legacy

Howard Phillips & Rushdoony:

“The Late Howard Phillips, one of the political operatives credited with building the religious right, called Rousas John Rushdoony the ‘most influential man of the 21st century,’ and someone who caused ‘historic changes in the thinking of countless leaders.’”

– Julie J. Ingersoll
“Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism”  page 1

Grassroots & Rushdoony:

“[Rushdoony] led a grassroots movement in the United States–he influenced a generation of preachers, challenged conservative seminaries and small liberal-arts colleges to rethink the way they taught Christianity, and helped thousands of American families free themselves from what they perceived as the shackles of state education. He prodded a generation of American Christians to use biblical law to wage holy war on a godless order–a gauntlet many activists and politicians took up with a hearty, ‘Deus vult!’”

– Michael J. McVicar 
“Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Conservatism” – page 230

Homeschoolers & Rushdoony:

“Thirty-five years after Rushdoony wrote The Biblical Philosophy of History its vision informed Doug Phillip’s ministry to homeschoolers. Homeschoolers came to imbue their educational choices with a sense of purpose and calling, even when they are unaware of Rushdoony. ”

– Julie J. Ingersoll
“Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism”  page 144

Francis Schaeffer & Rushdoony:

“…Francis Schaeffer’s son Frank has written extensively on the influence of his father as well as the broad-based cultural influence of Rushdoony on American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The elder Schaeffer acknowledged the ties between his work and Rushdoony’s in a warm, highly personal 1978 letter to Rushdoony, with included kind words about their mutual work and well-wishes to Gary North.”

– Julie J. Ingersoll
“Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism” page 21

Doug Wilson & Rushdoony:

“The son of an evangelist who settled in Moscow, Idaho, Wilson had helped found ‘a Baptist-leading, ‘hippie, Jesus People church.” He had little formal theological training, and his church was, in his words, a ‘Baptist-Presbyterian ‘mutt”. After encountering the teachings of Rushdoony, he inculcated Reconstructionist-inspired values within his faith community.”

– Kristin Kobes de Mez
“Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation”  page 177

Doug Phillips & Rushdoony:

“Phillips, according to his late father, Reconstructionist and Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips, was ‘raised on Rushdoony.’”

– Julie J. Ingersoll
“Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism” page 142

Rushdoony’s Influence on Politics

“Gothard didn’t engage directly in politics, but others influenced by the ideas he and Rushdoony advanced did. Howard Phillips, a convert to evangelicalism and a key behind-the-scenes operative, came across Rushdoony’s ideas in the mid-1970’s, and soon joined forces with Rushdoony to combat ‘the IRS assault’ on Christian schools. Phillips’s son, Doug Phillips, would later emerge alongside Gothard as a leading figure in the Christian homeschool movement. Pat Roberson and D. James Kennedy hosted Rushdoony on their broadcasts, helping to meld charismatic and prosperity gospel traditions with Reconstructionist-inspired teachings, and Rushdoony’s work was cited by law school faculty as Oral Roberts University, at Pat Roberson’s CBN/Regent University, and at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Francis Schaeffer, John W. (Wayne) Whitehead, and Tim LaHaye were also among those influenced by Reconstructionism.”

– Kristin Kobes de Mez
“Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation” – page 78

Final Notes

Rushdoony’s works were many. I have been able to review and pull quotes from only a small fraction of the books and other media attributed to him (as of writing this, the Chalcedon Foundation’s store lists him as author of hundreds of works). Rather than creating an exhaustive catalogue of his quotes, I have sought to give a glimpse into the worldview of Rushdoony which inspired and shaped Christian Reconstructionism and, in turn, Vision Forum.

However, there are authors who have compiled much more comprehensive studies of Rushdoony’s works, and who have been able to investigate in much more detail the influence that Rushdoony has had on not only homeschool organizations such as Vision Forum, but also the general conservative movement within the United States. Their works have been massively helpful in compiling this page, and are listed below:

Further Reading

  • Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
  • Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction by Julie Ingersoll
  • Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Conservatism by Michael J. McVicar


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