Freedom Writer - January 1995
Founded in 1964 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization,
Chalcedon (cal-SEE-don) is a leading think tank of the Christian Right.
Chalcedon is the origin and principal center of the Christian Reconstruction
movement, and their materials have had a vast, immeasurable effect
on the politics of the Christian Right.
Named after the Council of Chalcedon of 451 A.D., in which the Lordship
of Christ was proclaimed, the organization's purpose is to establish
Old Testament Biblical law as the standard for society. Chalcedon
promotes Christian Reconstructionism -- which mandates Christ's dominion
over all the world.
According to the Ministry of Chalcedon statement, "Chalcedon's emphasis
on the cultural or dominion mandate and the necessity of a return
to Biblical law has been a crucial factor in the challenge to humanism
by Christians in this country and elsewhere."
Chalcedon's president, Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, is best known
as "the father of Christian Reconstructionism." As well as being the
author of more than 100 books, he is a former Orthodox Presbyterian
minister, John Birch Society operative, and missionary to Native Americans.
Rushdoony, 78, is a longtime conservative leader. He is a member of
the Council for National Policy and the Conservative Caucus, and served
on the steering committee of Coalition on Revival.
Rushdoony's writings and the work of Chalcedon have had a major impact
on the Christian Right. For years, millions of Christians have embraced
what Reconstructionists derisively call "escapism theology." That
is, Jesus will return soon, in fact, at any moment, and then everything
will be all right. Christian Reconstruction simplified, says, "No,
the Church must first set up Christ's Kingdom on earth, then Christ
While many evangelical Christians still believe the imminent return
theory, significant numbers have switched. Most of these Christians
would not label themselves Reconstructionist, but they embrace the
The significance of the shift in doctrine is that most of evangelical
Christianity has been apolitical, believing that salvation and the
imminent return were the only answer in a world largely governed by
Satan. Reconstructionism argues instead that the kingdom of God on
earth is built not only by evangelism, but by the implementation of
Biblical law. The only way to get Biblical law is through politics.
No need to wait.
Christian Reconstruction teaches that every aspect of society must
come under Biblical law. This includes the death penalty for "practicing
homosexuals," abortionists, heretics, blasphemers, and even disobedient
Rushdoony considers democracy to be "heresy" and he advocates total
Christian theocracy. "Supernatural Christianity and democracy are
inevitably enemies," he writes. "Democracy is the great love of the
failures and cowards of life."
Similarly, Rushdoony opposes pluralism because "in the name of toleration,
the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance
with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of
Chalcedon was a leader in establishing the notion of special Christian
legal organizations. The Rutherford Institute was founded with the
help of Chalcedon to promote, through the courts, the Religious Right's
Chalcedon holds seminars, promotes speakers, publishes numerous books
and position papers, and distributes a series of 16 programs on videotape.
Publications include the _Chalcedon_Report_, a monthly 32-page magazine,
and the semiannual _Journal_of_Christian_Reconstruction_. Some of
Chalcedon's books are published by Ross House Books, a separate non-profit,
tax-exempt affiliated organization.
In 1991, Chalcedon received $634,264 in contributions, gifts, and
grants. The group also received $57,486 in tuition at their Christian
day school; $5,533 from journal sales; $3,571 in speaking and writing
fees; and $10,092 from sales of tapes and videos.
Besides Rushdoony, the board of directors includes vice president
Mark Rushdoony, Dorothy (Mrs. R.J.) Rushdoony, actor John Sanders
III, conservative philanthropist Howard Ahmanson, political consultant
Wayne Johnson, and Daniel Harris.
Tens of thousands of dollars in fees and honoraria are paid each year
to a dozen associates, including Otto J. Scott, Samuel Blumenfeld,
John Lofton, Joseph McAuliffe, and Gary Moes.
Chalcedon enjoys the privilege of wealthy board members and other
contributors. Rushdoony's work is well established, and his books
and tapes will continue to sell. Chalcedon has had and will continue
to have a great effect on the politics of the Religious Right.
"Democracy as Heresy" by Rodney Clapp, _Christianity_Today_, February
"The Christian Reconstructionists" by Anson Shupe, _The_Christian_
Century_, October 4, 1989.
"Prophets of a Biblical America" by Anson Shupe, _The_Wall_Street_
Journal_, April 12, 1989.
"Grace Under Pressure" by Marge Covino, _Sacramento_News_&_Review_,
October 20, 1994.
by Bruce Barron, Zondervan, 1992.
_The_Coors_Connection_ by Russ Bellant, South End Press, 1991._
PO Box 158
Vallecito CA 95251
(209) 736-4365 tel
(209) 736-0536 fax
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