The Bible and Public Schools in America
Past and Present


In this essay:

  • Past: The Bible was the source of public schools in America.
    • Bible-Based Public Schools made America the most prosperous and the most admired nation in history
  • Present: The Bible has been removed from public schools in America
  • Future: The Bible must be the core of every child's education. All other academic subjects should flow out of the Bible.

One of the themes of the Protestant Reformation was "sola scriptura." The Protestant Reformers did not want the Catholic clergy to have a monopoly on the Scriptures. (Most Protestants were known as "the Magisterial Reformers," because they relied on the civil magistrate to champion their ideals, unlike the Anabaptists, who were also Protestant Reformers, but opposed to state compulsion.)

America was a Bible-based nation. It was a Protestant nation.

Also called "common schools," public schools arose from the very Protestant desire to teach the Bible to everyone, not just to princes and priests.

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations says that as far back as 1384, Protestants were seeing the Bible as the source of liberty and ordered government, setting the stage for the demise of the myth of "the Divine Right of Kings." For a society to be well-governed, everyone in society needed to know the Bible.

"This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People."
General Prologue to Wycliffe's 1384 English translation of the Bible

It was Protestants who pushed for common schools to teach the Bible:

The common thread is that education was designed primarily to teach the Bible, and its religion and morality.

The Past

Public Schools Taught the Bible
All Other Subjects Orbited Around the Bible

The phrase "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" is not a vague deistic phrase. It refers to the Bible.

William Blackstone (1723-1780) described the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God in a chapter in his Commentaries entitled, "Of the Nature of Laws in General." An excerpt is found here. Among the highlights:

Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being. And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should, in all points, conform to his Maker's will.
his will of his Maker is called the law of nature.
his law of nature, being coeval [existing at the same time - ed.] with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man's felicity [happiness].
pon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these. [more]

"They are to be found only in the holy scriptures." Without the Bible, "the Laws of Nature" become whatever anybody wants them to be. Civilization crumbles in pure subjectivity.

John Locke (1632-1704) was a Christian philosopher who had a great influence in America. He said:

[T]he Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must . . . be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e., to the will of God.
[L]aws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.
Locke, Two Treatises on Government, Bk II sec 135. (quoting Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, 1.iii, § 9 )

Blackstone was cited more frequently than Locke by America's Founding Fathers. In 1810 Thomas Jefferson wryly commented that American lawyers used Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England with the same dedication and reverence that Muslims used the Koran.

One of the first laws concerning public schools in America (1647) is known as "the Old Deluder Satan Act."

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with love and false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors. It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general, by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the town shall appoint; provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other towns. And it is further ordered, that when any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the university, provided that if any town neglect the performance hereof above one year that every such town shall pay 5 pounds to the next school till they shall perform this order.

"Knowledge of the Scriptures" was the reason for public schools. The Bible was not just for church, but also for civil matters ("commonwealth").

That same year in England, the Westminster Assembly was hammering out a Catechism for children, which would soon be found in every schoolroom in America.

Second only to the Bible, the "Shorter Catechism" of the Westminster Confession was the most widely published piece of literature in the pre-revolutionary era in America. It is estimated that some five million copies were available in the colonies. With a total population of only four million people in America at the time of the Revolution, the number is staggering. The Westminster Catechism was not only a central part of the colonial educational curriculum, learning it was required by law. Each town employed an officer whose duty was to visit homes to hear the children recite the Catechism. The primary schoolbook for children, the New England Primer, included the Catechism.  Daily recitations of it were required at these schools. Their curriculum included memorization of the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Larger Catechism. There was not a person at Independence Hall in 1776 who had not been exposed to it, and most of them had it spoon fed to them before they could walk.

Colonial American Children who were spoon-fed the Shorter Catechism graduated to the The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), about which Gardiner says:

In addition to being the decree of Parliament as the standard for Christian doctrine in the British Kingdom, it was adopted as the official statement of belief for the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Although slightly altered and called by different names, it was the creed of Congregationalist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches throughout the English speaking world. Assent to the Westminster Confession was officially required at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Princeton scholar Benjamin Warfield wrote: “It was impossible for any body of Christians in the [English] Kingdoms to avoid attending to it.”

America was a Protestant nation. It was therefore a Bible-based nation.

Sam Adams wrote to his cousin John:

Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity. . . and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country. . . . In short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.

Letter to John Adams, 1790, who wrote back: "You and I agree."
Four Letters: Being an Interesting Correspondence Between
Those Eminently Distinguished Characters,
John Adams, Late President of the United States;
and Samuel Adams, Late Governor of Massachusetts.
On the Important Subject of Government

(Boston: Adams and Rhoades, 1802) pp. 9-10

The following is excerpted from David Barton's Original Intent, pp. 80-85, published by Wallbuilders. Purchasing the book is highly recommended. Using the link at right helps this website stay online.

Many settlers to America had suffered persecution for their Christian beliefs at the hands of other “Christians” (many of the civil abuses of Europe inexcusably occurred under the banner of Christianity — the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc.). When Europe finally began to move away from such abuses, it did so because of the efforts of leaders like Martin Luther, John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, and others. These individuals believed that it was the Biblical illiteracy of the people which had permitted so many civil abuses to occur; that is, since the common man was not permitted to read the Scriptures for himself, his knowledge of rights and wrongs was limited to what his civil leaders told him.

The American settlers, having been exposed to the Reformation teachings, believed that the proper protection from civil abuses in America could be achieved by eliminating Biblical illiteracy. In this way, the citizens themselves (rather than just their leaders) could measure the acts of their civil government compared to the teachings of the Bible. Consequently, one of the first laws providing public education for all children (the “Old Deluder Satan Law,” passed in Massachusetts in 1642 and in Connecticut in 1647) was a calculated attempt to prevent the abuse of power which can be imposed on a Biblically-illiterate people. That public school law explained not only why students needed an education but also how it was to be accomplished:

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former time.... It is therefore ordered . . . [that] after the Lord hath increased [the settlement] to the number of fifty householders, [they] shall then forthwith appoint one within their town, to teach all such children as shall resort to him, to write and read.... And it is further ordered, that where any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school... to instruct youths, so far as they may be fitted for the university.[24]

It was not uncommon for subsequent American literacy laws to stress the need to know the Scriptures. For example, the 1690 Connecticut law declared:

This [legislature] observing that... there are many persons unable to read the English tongue and thereby incapable to read the holy Word of God or the good laws of this colony... it is ordered that all parents and masters shall cause their respective children and servants, as they are capable, to be taught to read distinctly the English tongue.[25]

The concern that caused this educational law to be passed was that many were illiterate and thereby “incapable to read the holy Word of God ...”

The inseparability of Christianity from education, whether public or private, was evident at every level of American education. For example, the 1636 rules of Harvard declared:

Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17.3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Prov. 2, 3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.[26]

Those Harvard requirements changed little over subsequent years. For example, the 1790 rules required:

All persons of what degree soever residing at the College, and all undergraduates … shall constantly and seasonably attend the worship of God in the chapel, morning and evening. . . . All the scholars shall, at sunset in the evening preceding the Lord’s Day, lay aside all their diversions and. is enjoined upon every scholar carefully to apply himself to the duties of religion on said day.[27]

So firmly was Harvard dedicated to this goal that its two mottos were “For the Glory of Christ” and “For Christ and the Church.”[28] This school and its philosophy produced signers John Adams, John Hancock, Elbridge Gerry, John Pickering, William Williams, Rufus King, William Hooper, William Ellery, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and numerous other illustrious Founders.

In 1692, through the efforts of the Rev. James Blair, the College of William & Mary was founded in Williamsburg, Virginia, so that:

[T]he youth may be piously enacted in good letters and manners and that the Christian faith may be propagated ... to the glory of Almighty God.[29]

A century later, William &. Mary was still pursuing this goal—as indicated by its 1792 requirements:

The students shall attend prayers in chapel at the time appointed and there demean themselves with that decorum which the sacred duty of public worship requires.[30]

In 1699, Yale was founded by ten ministers[31] in order:

[T]o plant, and under the Divine blessing, to propagate in this wilderness the blessed reformed Protestant religion.[32]

When classes began in 1701, Yale required:

[T]he Scriptures . . . morning and evening [are] to be read by the students at the times of prayer in the school . . . studiously endeavor[ing] in the education of said students to promote the power and purity of religion.[33]

In 1720 Yale charged its students:

Seeing God is the giver of all wisdom, every scholar, besides private or secret prayer, wherein all we are bound to ask wisdom, shall be present morning and evening at public prayer in the hall at the accustomed hour.[34]

Then in 1743, and again in 1755, Yale instructed its students:

Above all have an eye to the great end of all your studies, which is to obtain the clearest conceptions of Divine things and to lead you to a saving knowledge of God in his Son Jesus Christ.[35]

Its 1787 rules declared:

All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion.... All the scholars are obliged to attend Divine worship in the College Chapel on the Lord’s Day and on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving appointed by public Authority.[36]

It was this school and its philosophy which produced signers Oliver Wolcott, William Livingston, Lyman Hall, Lewis Morris, Jared Ingersoll, Philip Livingston, William Samuel Johnson, and numerous other distin­guished Founders.

In 1746, Princeton was founded by the Presbyterians with the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson as its first president. He was followed by a long line of illustrious ministers who served as presidents, including Aaron Burr Sr., Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Davies, and Samuel Finley (all of whom were involved in America’s greatest revival—the Great Awakening).[37] Its presi­dent immediately preceding the Revolution was the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, later a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a venerated leader among the patriots. Notice some of Princeton’s requirements while John Witherspoon was president:

Every student shall attend worship in the college hall morning and evening at the hours appointed and shall behave with gravity and reverence during the whole service. Every student shall attend public worship on the Sabbath.... Besides the public exercises of religious worship on the Sabbath, there shall be assigned to each class certain exercises for their religious instruction suited to the age and standing of the pupils. . . . and no student belonging to any class shall neglect them.[38]

Signers James Madison, Richard Stockton, Benjamin Rush, Gunning Bedford, Jonathan Dayton, and numerous other prominent Founders, graduated from Princeton (a seminary for the training of ministers).

In 1754, Dartmouth College of New Hampshire (made especially famous by alumnus Daniel Webster’s defense of its charter before the U. S. Supreme Court in 1819[39])was founded by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock. Its charter was very succinct as to its purpose:

Whereas... the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock.... educated a number of the children of the Indian natives with a view to their carrying the Gospel in their own language and spreading the knowledge of the great Redeemer among their savage tribes. And ... the design became reputable among the Indians insomuch that a larger number desired the education of their children in said school.... [Therefore] Dartmouth-College [is established] for the education and instruction of youths ... in reading, writing and all parts of learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and Christianizing the children.[40]

That same year (1754), King’s College was founded in New York. Following the American Revolution, its name was changed to Columbia College; and in 1787, Constitution signer William Samuel Johnson was appointed its first president. Columbia’s admission requirements were straightforward:

No candidate shall be admitted into the College... unless he shall be able to render into English ... the Gospels from the Greek.... It is also expected that all students attend public worship on Sundays.[41]

Johnson’s commencement speech to the Columbia graduates further affirms the religious emphasis of American public education:

You this day, gentlemen, … have ... received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country. . . .Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds and exemplified in your lives and conduct. Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. . . . Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. . . . Love, fear, and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His Word and holy ordinances. Make Him your friend and protector and your felicity is secured both here and hereafter.[42]

In 1766, Rutgers University was founded through the efforts of the Rev. Theodore Frelinghuysen. Its official motto, “Sun of Righteousness, Shine upon the West Also,” was an extension of the Netherlands’ University of Utrecht motto: “Sun of Righteousness, Shine upon Us.”[43]

Examination of other colleges and universities of the day reveals that the examples mentioned above were neither aberrations nor isolated selections— they represented the norm:

[H]igher education in the United States before 1870 was provided very largely in the tuitional colleges of the different religious denominations, rather than by the State. Of the two hundred and forty-six colleges founded by the close of the year 1860 . . . seventeen were State institutions and but two or three others had any State connections.[44]

Perhaps George Washington, “The Father of the Country,” provided the most succinct description of America’s educational philosophy when Chiefs from the Delaware Indian tribe brought him three Indian youths to be trained in American schools. Washington first assured the chiefs that “Congress . . . will look upon them as their own children,”[45] and then commended the Chiefs for their decision, telling them that:

You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention.[46]

By George Washington’s own words, what youths learned in America’s schools “above all” was “the religion of Jesus Christ.”

Continue: The Bible in Public Schools Today

[24] The Code of 1650, Being a Compilation of the Earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut (Hartford: Silus Andrus, 1822), pp. 92-93. See also Holy Trinity at 467.

[25] Edward Kendall, Kendall’s Travels (New York: I. Riley, 1809), Vol. I, pp. 270-271.

[26] Benjamin Pierce, A History of Harvard University (Cambridge, MA: Brown, Shattuck, and Company, 1833), Appendix, p. 5.

[27] The Laws of Harvard College (Boston: Samuel Hall, 1790), pp. 7-8

[28] The Harvard Graduates’ Magazine (Manesh, WI: George Barna Publishing Co.), September 1933, p. 8, from the article “Harvard Seals and Arms” by Samuel Eliot Morison. English translation also confirmed to the author in an October 18, 1995, letter from curatorial associate at the Harvard University Archives.

[29] The Charter and Statutes of the College of William and Mary in Virginia (Williamsburg, VA: William Parks, 1736), p. 3.

[30] William & Mary Rules (Richmond: Augustine Davis, 1792), p. 6

[31] Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education (New Haven: Howe & Spalding, 1823), p. 237.

[32] Documentary History of Yale University, Franklin B. Dexter, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916), p. 27, November 11, 1701, Proceedings of the Trustees.

[33] Documentary History of Yale University, Franklin B. Dexter, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916), p. 32, November11, 1701, Proceedings of the Trustees.

[34] Daniel Dorchester, Christianity in the United States (New York: Hunt and Eaton, 1890), p. 245.

[35] The Catalogue of the Library of Yale College in New Haven (New London: T. Green, 1743), prefatory remarks. See also The Catalogue of the Library of Yale College in New Haven (New Haven: James Parker, 1755), prefatory remarks.

[36] The Laws of Yale College in New Haven in Connecticut (New Haven: Josiah Meigs, 1787), pp. 5-6, Chapter II, Article 1, 4.

[37] Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, editors (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888), s. v. “Aaron Burr,” “Timothy Edwards/Jonathan Edwards,” “Samuel Davies,” and “Samuel Finley.”

[38] The Laws of the College of New-Jersey (Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1794), pp. 28-29.

[39] See, for example, Rufus Choate, A Discourse Delivered Before The Faculty, Students, and Alumni of Dartmouth College (Boston: James Monroe and Company, 1853), p. 33, where he declares that Daniel Webster’s arguments in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U. S. 518 (1819), “established the inviolability of the charter of Dartmouth College.”

[40] The Charter of Dartmouth College (Dresden: Isaiah Thomas, 1779), pp. 1, 4

[41] Columbia Rules (New York: Samuel Loudon, 1785), pp. 5-8.

[42] Edwards Beardsley, Life and Times of William Samuel Johnson (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1886), pp. 141-142.

[43] Rutgers’ Fact Book of 1965 (New Jersey: Rutgers University, 1965), p.2. (The motto was based on the Bible verses of Malachi 4:2 and Matthew 13:43.)

[44] E. P. Cubberley, Public Education in the United States (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1919), p. 204. See also Luther A. Weigle, The Pageant of America: American Idealism, Ralph Henry Gabriel, editor (Yale University Press, 1928), Vol. X, p. 315.

[45] George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XV, p. 55, from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779.

[46] Idem.



Public Schools vs. The Bible
School District of Abington Township v. Schempp
Supreme Court of the United States, 1963

This case involved yet another voluntary activity by students: the use of the Scriptures. At issue was a Pennsylvania policy which stated:

Each school... shall be opened by the reading, without comment, of a chapter in the Holy Bible. . .. Participation in the opening exercises . . is voluntary. The student reading the verses from the Bible may select the passages and read from any version he chooses.[49]

The Court further explained:

There are no prefatory statements, no questions asked or solicited, no comments or explanations made and no interpretations given at or during the exercises. The students and parents are advised that the student may absent himself from the classroom or, should he elect to remain, not participate in the exercises.[50]

Like the New York prayer, this seemed to be a relatively innocuous activity. It was voluntary; it was student-led; no sectarian instruction or comments were permitted. Yet today's civil libertarians portray this as a coercion case -- so much so, they claim, that Edward Schempp thought himself forced to file suit to relieve his children from the coercion. However, the facts of the case disprove this assertion:

Roger and Donna [two of the Schempp children] testified that they had never protested to their teachers or other persons of authority in the school system concerning the practices of which they now complain [in this lawsuit]. In fact, on occasion, Donna herself had volunteered to read the Bible.[51] (emphasis added)

Furthermore, so non-coercive was the policy that while other children were reading the Bible, one of the Schempp children had been permitted to read the Koran.[52] The facts in the case clearly establish that there was no coercion. (However, when this case finally reached the Supreme Court, these facts, presented in the District Court, were ignored.)

Another argument raised then (and still raised today) is that the school setting is no place for religious activities; if such activities are to occur it should be at home-or in a private school. Justice Stewart, in his dissent, pointed out the constitutional fallacy of such arguments;

only for the rich?

It might be argued here that parents who wanted their children to be exposed to religious influences in school could... send their children to private or parochial schools. But the consideration which renders this contention too facile [simplistic] to be determinative [a factor] has already been recognized by the Court: "Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion are available to all, not merely to those who can pay their own way." Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, 111.

only for the home?

It might also be argued that parents who want their children exposed to religious influences can adequately fulfill that wish off school property and outside school time. With all its surface persuasiveness, however, this argument seriously misconceives the basic constitutional justification for permitting the exercises at issue in these cases. For a compulsory state educational system so structures a child's life that if religious exercises are held to be an impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage. Viewed in this light, permission of such exercises for those who want them is necessary if the schools are truly to be neutral in the matter of religion. And a refusal to permit religious exercises thus is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.[53]

Religion is never a purely private affair. Those who tell you your religion should be "private" are attempting to make their religion the basis for public and political power over you.

The State's compulsory schooling laws send a clear message to kids:

Your leaders want you in school because we want to teach you the things that are most important for you to know in order to become a fully human productive citizen of this great nation.

What is the first lesson students learn in secular schools? God, religion, and morality are not very important. "If they were, surely our educational experts would see to it that we learned what we need to know." Kids aren't stupid. They realize the implications of not making the Bible our foundational school textbook.

We can begin to see that it is not just that arguments against Christianity in public schools are fallacious. There are compelling social reasons for making Christianity the foundation of everything that is taught in school, and the Framers of the Constitution understood these reasons.

There is not a single Signer of the Constitution who would have agreed that the Constitution he was signing was intended to give the federal government the power to order municipal schools to remove The Ten Commandments and the Bible. The Founders' opinion of the Bible, and of its use in schools, was clear:

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.[54] [T]he Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.[55]

[Why] should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.[56]

Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited.... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.[57] I have examined all [religions]... and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.[58]

[T]he Bible.... [is] a book containing the history of all men and of all nations and... [is] a necessary part of a polite education.[59]

The Bible itself [is] the common inheritance, not merely of Christendom, but of the world. [60]

To a man of liberal education, the study of history is not only useful, and important, but altogether indispensable, and with regard to the history contained in the Bible . . . "it is not so much praiseworthy to be acquainted with as it is shameful to be ignorant of it."[61]

The reflection and experience of many years have led me to consider the holy writings not only as the most authentic and instructive in themselves, but as the clue to all other history. They tell us what man is, and they alone tell us why he is what he is: a contradictory creature that seeing and approving of what is good, pursues and performs what is evil. All of private and of public life is there displayed.... From the same pure fountain of wisdom we learn that vice destroys freedom; that arbitrary power is founded on public immorality.[62]

[The Bible] is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.[63]

[T]o the free and universal reading of the Bible in that age, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is . . . a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.[64]

The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.[65]

The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal [secular] concerns of men.[66]

Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses.[67]

Not only did the Abington Court disregard these stated beliefs of the Founders, it falsely asserted:

The [First] Amendment's purpose was not to strike merely at the official establishment of a single sect . . . . It was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority.[68] (emphasis added)

This absurd claim completely reverses the Founders' intent; their purpose for the First Amendment was to "strike at the official establishment of a single sect" and definitely was not to completely and permanently separate the religious and civil spheres. Such a separation would mean that our nation was not a nation "under God." The purpose of the First Amendment was to separate the ecclesiastical and civil spheres, not the religious and civil spheres. Most Americans have not given due consideration to this distinction. The Supreme Court is either just as ignorant as these Americans, or else the Court self-consciously opposes the true intentions of the Founding Fathers. In either case, the Justices have not kept their oath of office. America's Founding Fathers lived in a religious nation, and their Constitution did not change this. The United States is a Christian nation, not a secular (atheistic) nation, because it is a nation "under God," it acknowledges its duty to God as a nation, and it endorses and promotes the true religion.

The "separation of church and state" did not mean the "separation of religion and state," much less the "separation of Christianity and the State" until 1947 and more clearly in the early 1960's. In the case of Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), the New York case which removed voluntary prayer from public schools, Justice Douglass, who concurred in the decision of the majority, reminded the Court,

At the same time I cannot say that to authorize this prayer is to establish a religion in the strictly historic meaning of those words. The Court analogizes the present case to those involving the traditional Established Church. We once had an Established Church, the Anglican. All baptisms and marriages had to take place there. That church was supported by taxation. In these and other ways the Anglican Church was favored over the others. The First Amendment put an end to placing any one church in a preferred position. It ended support of any church or all churches by taxation. It went further and prevented secular sanction to any religious ceremony, dogma, or rite. Thus, it prevents civil penalties from being applied against recalcitrants or nonconformists. A religion is not established in the usual sense merely by letting those who choose to do so say the prayer that the public school teacher leads.
Engel at 442 and note 7

The Majority in Abington were wrong: The First Amendment's purpose was "to strike merely at the official establishment of a single sect," not to remove all traces of Christianity from the schools. Again, Justice Douglas:

Religion was once deemed to be a function of the public school system. The Northwest Ordinance, which antedated the First Amendment, provided in Article III that "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

It is possible that by mentioning that the Northwest Ordinance was first passed before the First Amendment, Justice Douglas is trying to lead the reader to think the First Amendment changed the function of the public school, and declared that religion and morality were no longer indispensable supports for the new system of government under the Constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Northwest Ordinance was re-passed by the same Congress that approved the First Amendment. It accurately reflects the views of those who signed the Constitution. Notice (emphasis added in each quote):

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.[69]
, Farewell Address, 17 Sept. 1796.

The great pillars of all government and of social life . . . [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.[70]

One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations. . . . I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society.[71]

We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.[72]

[T]he Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth. [and] laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.[73]

[T]he Christian religion -- its general principles -- must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.[74]

True religion always enlarges the heart and strengthens the social tie.[75]

Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.[76]

I have always considered Christianity as the strong ground of republicanism. . . . It is only necessary for republicanism to ally itself to the Christian religion to overturn all the corrupted political and religious institutions in the world.[77]

[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and his apostles.... and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.[78]

[N]ational prosperity can neither be attained nor preserved without the favor of Providence.[79]

As guardians of the prosperity, liberty; and morals of the State, we are therefore bound by every injunction of patriotism and wisdom . . . to patronize public improvements and to cherish all institutions for the diffusion of religious knowledge and for the promotion of virtue and piety.[80]

Nowhere can it be demonstrated that the Founders desired to secularize official society and "create a complete separation of the spheres of religious duty and civil authority." The Abington decision represented a further step in the devolution of the First Amendment by rewriting the intent of those who created the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

[Adapted from David Barton, Original Intent, 160-65.]

49. Abington at 211, n. 4, 207.

50. Abington at 207.

51. Schempp v. School District of Abington; 177 Fed. Supp. 398, 400.

52. Schempp at 401.

53. Abington at 312-313, Stewart, J. (dissenting).

54. Rush, Letters, Vol. I, p.521, to Jeremy Belknap on July 13, 1789.

55. Benjamin Rush, Essays, pp. 94, 100, "A Defence of the Use of the Bible as a School Book."

56. Fisher Ames, Works of Fisher Ames (Boston: T. B. Wait & Co, 1809), pp. 134-135.

57. John Adams, Works, Vol. II, pp. 6-7, diary entry for February 22, 1756.

58. John Adams, Works, Vol. X, p. 85, to Thomas Jefferson on December 25, 1813.

59. Henry Laurens, The Papers of Henry Laurens, George C. Rogers, Jr., and David R. Chesnutt, editors (Columbia, S. C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1980), Vol. VIII, pp. 426-427, to James Lawrenson on August 19, 1772.

60. Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1854), p. 259, §446.

61. John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), p. 34.

62. Collections of the New York Historical Society for the Year 1821 (New York: E. Bliss and E. White, 1821), p. 30, from "An Inaugural Discourse Delivered Before the New York Historical Society by the Honorable Gouverneur Morris on September 4, 1816."

63. William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry (Philadelphia: James Webster, 1818), p. 402. See also George Morgan, Patrick Henry (Philadelphia & London: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1929), p. 403.

64. Daniel Webster, Address Delivered at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1843, on the Completion of the Monument (Boston: T. R. Marvin, 1843), p. 31. See also W. P. Strickland, History of the American Bible Society from its Organization to the Present Time (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1849), p. 18.

65. John Jay, John Jay: The Winning of the Peace. Unpublished Papers 1780-1784, Richard B. Morris, editor (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1980), Vol. II, p. 709, to Peter Augustus Jay on April 8, 1784.

66. Noah Webster, The Holy Bible . . . With Amendments of the Language (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1833), p. v.

67. Bernard C. Steiner, One Hundred and Ten Years of Bible Society Work in Maryland (Baltimore: Maryland Bible Society, 1921), p. 14.

68. Abington at 217, quoting Everson v. Board of Education; 330 U.S. 1, 31-32. t

69. Washington, Address . . . Preparatory to His Declination, pp. 22-23.

70. Moses Coit Tyler, Patrick Henry (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1897), p. 409, to Archibald Blair on January 8, 1799.

71. Joseph Story, Life and Letters of Joseph Story, William W. Story, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. II, pp. 8, 92.

72. James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree & O'Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 985, June 28, 1787.

73. John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6.

74. Daniel Webster, Mr. Webster's Speech in Defence of the Christian Ministry and in Favor of the Religious Instruction of the Young. Delivered in the Supreme Court of the United States, February 10, 1844, in the Case of Stephen Girard's Will (Washington: Printed by Gales and Seaton, 1844), p. 41.

75. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. V, p. 272, "The Absolute Necessity of Salvation Through Christ," January 2, 1758.

76. James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Presented to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia at their Session in 1785 in Consequence of a Bill Brought into that Assembly for the Establishment of Religion (Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1786), p. 4.

77. Rush, Letters, Vol. II, pp. 820-821, to Thomas Jefferson on August 22, 1800.

78. Noah Webster, History, p. 300, ¶578.

79. Speeches of the . . . Governors . . . of New York, p. 47, Governor John Jay on January 6, 1796.

80. Speeches of the . . . Governors . . . of New York, p. 136, Governor Daniel Tompkins on November 5, 1816.

Towards a Bible-Centered Curriculum

The Bible and the Ron Paul Curriculum

Libertarian and Republican Party Presidential Candidate Ron Paul is coming out with a home school curriculum:

I haven't studied the curriculum thoroughly, but it appears to be very light on the Bible. (That is, I searched the whole site for the word "Bible" and got zero hits.) This inspired me to think about how Ron Paul should integrate the Bible into his curriculum, or perhaps how an entirely new Bible-based home school curriculum should be created.

Without a doubt, the Ron Paul Curriculum is designed to promote Liberty.

But if there is no Bible Course in the Ron Paul Curriculum, it really cannot equip students to promote liberty.

Contrary to the shrill hysteria of some lesbians and secular progressives, Ron Paul is not a Christian Fundamentalist.

And contrary to some "Christian Fundamentalists," a fundamentalist approach to the Bible provides a more radical defense of liberty than Ron Paul's secular, Bible-free approach.

Ron Paul's curriculum is generally based on the "Austrian School of Economics." But Ron Paul's curriculum is not radically based on "Austrian Economics." It is "middle-of-the-road" "Austrian Economics." Radical Austrian economists are anarchists, or "anarcho-capitalists." Ron Paul and his curriculum are not.

I'd like to introduce you to what might be called "Anarcho-Fundamentalism."

America's Founding Fathers believed that the Bible is the Foundation of Liberty.

America's Founding Fathers believed that the foundation of Liberty is "religion and morality." Specifically, the Christian religion and Christian morality. More specifically, the Protestant Christian religion and morality. More specific still, Calvinist morality (though some Founders rejected Calvinist theology). This means, obviously, a Biblical worldview. The Bible is the key to liberty.

Secular libertarians too quickly dismiss the Bible. If in the same way they combed through every Ron Paul Campaign press release and every impromptu answer Ron Paul ever gave to a reporter, they would find numerous "contradictions" and boldly announce that Ron Paul doesn't really exist.

The Bible is demonstrably the Word of God and the most important book in the history of the human race.

I've never gotten the impression that Ron Paul is a "Bible-believing Christian." So I'm not surprised that his curriculum is essentially secular/Bible-free.

Socially Conservative Libertarians

The most important issue in the 2016 Presidential Election will be the tension between

  • social (moral) conservatives (usually Christians) who are opposed to sin, and also opposed to "Big Government,"
  • libertarians who oppose Big Government, but also oppose a conservative "small government" punishing sins ("victimless crimes") with fines, tasers, imprisonment, drones, and executions.

"The mainstream media" (which is actually a fringe media) and "the powers that be" have a vested interest in making sure that the mainstream of America does not take the Bible and Ron Paul too seriously. Both the Bible and the Ron Paul Curriculum threaten the legitimacy of the Bush-Obama regime: "The Establishment." At one time Ron Paul could be dismissed simply by calling him a "libertarian." As the word "libertarian" becomes more respected, the "A" word will be hauled out:


The Ron Paul Curriculum is based on "Austrian Economics," not the Bible. It is secular, not Christian.

This is unfortunate for Ron Paul, because he could make more money by appealing to the Bible-believing education consumer.

It's also unfortunate because the Bible is the best foundation for liberty.

It may come as a surprise to Ron Paul (and many Christians), but the Bible teaches Austrian Economics and Libertarian social/government theory.

Consistent Austrian economics is anarcho-capitalism. The Bible also teaches anarcho-capitalism. If everyone who claims to be a Bible-believing Christian were to become an advocate of anarcho-capitalism, and if every nation

should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited . . . Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry, to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence towards Almighty God. What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
 -- John Adams

The Bible says anarcho-capitalism is not only possible, but inevitable.

This idea (that the Bible teaches Austrian Economics/Anarcho-Capitalism) is a big, revolutionary idea.

It's a big revolutionary idea like the idea in 1517 that the Bible teaches Justification by Faith rather than by church liturgies and rituals.

It's a big revolutionary idea like the idea in 1776 that a nation can thrive without a king, like some headless horseman.

Never before had I heard the authority of kings called in question. I had been taught to consider them nearly as essential to political order as the sun is to the order of our solar system.
Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, upon first hearing of Locke's rejection of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings

Thirty years ago I put together "95 Theses on the State," in homage to Luther's 95 Theses on Justification. I went through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and pulled out 95 key concepts that relate to the issues of politics, law, economics, and government. Nowhere did I find a Biblical warrant for a king, or even a "State" of any kind.

I have copied below a section from this page which contains an outline of my "95 Theses on the State." It is found on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side are hints at how each Thesis can be used as the foundation for other academic subjects which might be covered in a home school curriculum. This is very sketchy at this point.

I have variously entitled these Theses, "95 Theses on the State," "95 Theses on Patriarchy," "95 Theses on Anarcho-Theocracy," and here I have substituted "Anarcho-Theocracy" for "Patriarchy" except in those instances where there is a specific reference to the institution of "The Family" vs. Church or State.


Christian Anarchism from Genesis to Revelation

The whole Bible teaches Christian Anarchism. From cover to cover. Most Christians are familiar with only a few passages in the Bible, those on "salvation," or maybe a few passages on "the rapture" or "the second coming." Most Christians have never read the history of the rise of the State or the idolatry and infanticide of the kings, and the Prophets who so thoroughly denounced them.

The Bible Describes the Battle: Politics vs. Patriarchy

God created human beings male and female: The Family. This is the core institution of human society.

The Institution called "The State" is unBiblical. It reflects rebellion against God's Law.

The whole history of man as recorded in the Bible is the history of sinful rebellion against God's model for society as created in the Garden of Eden, and the construction of institutions based on Humanistic power: coercion and violence. It is the history of Politics vs. Patriarchy.

God never commanded human beings to form a "state." The State was formed by rebels who wanted to seize the wealth of others rather than work for it or engage in peaceful trade.
The Criminality of the State - Albert Jay Nock

95 Theses Against the State

These 95 Theses cover the Bible from cover to cover. They are arranged under the following time periods:

  1. Anarcho-Capitalism Before The Fall
  2. Anarcho-Capitalism Before The Flood
  3. Anarcho-Capitalism Before Sinai
  4. Anarcho-Capitalism Under Moses
  5. Anarcho-Capitalism and The Rise Of The State
  6. Anarcho-Capitalism and Providence: The State
  7. Anarcho-Capitalism and The Messiah
  8. Anarcho-Capitalism and The Early Home-Churches
  9. Anarcho-Capitalism In "The Millennium"


View | Welcome to “The 95 Days of Christmas”  
View | The Importance of Luther's 95 Theses In his book on How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Tom Woods overstates the role of the Institutional Church and understates the role of the Bible in the creation of Western Civilization.
The link at left cites John Robbins, who overstates the role of Luther and the Protestant Reformation in the creation of Western Civilization.
Western Civilization is Biblical Civilization
View | The Origin of These 95 Theses  
View | Introduction: Taking the Bible Seriously      The Bible sets itself before us as a revelation from God. The authors of the books of the Bible make this claim. This claim is either true, or the Bible is evil. The claim cannot be ignored. The Bible is the most important book in the history of the human race. No other book has had more influence. A secular (Bible-denying or Bible-ignoring) education is irresponsible.
     Christians would agree that some people have made praiseworthy cultural advances motivated by the Koran, but we would say that these advances were either incidental or epistemologically inconsistent with the Koran. Many praiseworthy advances have been made by people motivated by the Bible, but if the Bible is fundamentally a hoax, then the amount of evil (and missed opportunities) caused by the Bible greatly outweighs these inconsistent advances.
More on the Bible.
View | Thesis 1: Christ the Word
     Jesus claimed to be God. The Jews of His day wanted Him put to death for saying this. The incarnation of God is either a lie or the most important event in the history of the human race.
     The Deity of Christ is the heart of the doctrine of the "Trinity." Thomas Jefferson denied this doctrine. If he were here today, I would make him read two books which would completely change his mind on this issue.

First, The Hoax of Higher Criticism by Gary North. Jefferson fell for the myths of 18th century German Higher Criticism hook line and sinker. These myths have long since been debunked. Another easy source is Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

Second, The One and The Many, by R.J. Rushdoony. Rushdoony's book shows that the Trinity is the foundation for liberty and humane society. Governments always embody theological error. The problem of "the one and the many" is a vexing philosophical problem that cannot be solved without the doctrine of the Trinity.

Jefferson would see immediately -- taking in the facts of the modern world (socialism, communism, fascism, crony-capitalism, and the complete abandonment of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights) -- that "higher criticism" was a ruse for big government. Big Unitarian Government.

Jefferson was not an enemy of morality. Higher Criticism is. Government is. I believe the modern combination of tyranny and anti-trinitarianism would click in Jefferson's mind. He would realize that the war against the Bible is a war for Big Government.

View | Thesis 2: Christ the Creator
View | Thesis 3: Creation, not Evolution Why teach the laws of physics, or the laws of chemistry, if the universe is actually a random, constantly-evolving multiverse? Evolution is a faith, not a fact.
View | Thesis 4: Omniscience, Predestination, and Providence The Total Security State seeks and claims omniscience, and other "incommunicable attributes" of God. The doctrine of God's Providence is a bulwark of liberty.
View | Thesis 5: “Self-Evident Truths” Deep down, everyone knows the Bible (also called "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God") is true. Students should be taught how to turn conscience into a worldview. Education without reference to "self-evident truths" is self-deception.


View | Thesis 6: The Biological Basis of Patriarchy Students should learn that there is no biological basis for homosexuality. "Homophobia?" Children need to be assured of the fundamental facts of life: not condoms, but the goodness of fathers and mothers.
View | Thesis 7: The Dominion Mandate The opposite of environmentalism.
View | Thesis 8: Patriarchy and “the Extended Family” The Bible commands grandparents to be involved in the homeschooling of their grandchildren. See also Thesis 39.

View | Thesis 9: Anarcho-Theocracy and the Sanctions of the Covenant

Christians are the sons of Abraham and heirs of the promises made to Abraham.

Of Abraham the Scripture says:

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Genesis 18:19

And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Genesis 26:4-5

"Theonomy" is the Gospel:

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying,
           In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Galatians 3:8

"The blessings of liberty" -- "Good News" indeed -- come only through obedience to God's Law.

Skip down to Thesis 10


     This Thesis is a major point. It seems to be completely ignored in the Ron Paul Curriculum.
     If the Bible is not true, there really is no such thing as "Law" except the "positive law" of the State.
     Every home school curriculum needs to teach children ""The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," that is, Biblical Law, also known as "Theonomy."
     It was one of the most important features of early American public schools that they inculcated "religion and morality," a.k.a. "piety and virtue." America's Founders believed that religion and morality were "necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind," and this was the explicitly stated reason why schools were created.
     One of the centerpieces of early American education was the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It was in virtually every single classroom in America, and in nearly every home. One of the finest features of that work is an exposition of the Ten Commandments, including "the duties required" and "the sins forbidden" by each commandment. This is the foundation of the Common Law and American Law. A school curriculum is not complete without a daily study of the Ten Commandments. Rushdoony's The Institutes of Biblical Law would be an appropriate text for home-schooled high-schoolers. Here is an outline of a home-study program that I still haven't finished, as well as links to the Westminster Standards.

The Ten Commandments prohibit:

1.  Idolatry
2.  False Religion
3.  Swearing a false oath
4.  Refusal to work
5.  Disrespecting parents and other authorities
6.  Murder
7.  Cheating on your Wife
8.  Theft
9.  Slander
10. Covetousness

For more than 300 years -- roughly 1600-1900 -- "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" -- that is, the Bible -- permeated America's schools and American culture. These laws are the foundation of civilization.

Ten Principles for a Free Society

The Ten Commandments in a Biblical Worldview

The Ten Commandments Moral Inventory and Meditation Program

Preface to the Ten Commandments

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • Introduction: The Importance of the Law
  • The Validity of Biblical Law
  • The Law as Revelation and Treaty
  • The Direction of the Law
The First Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law
    1. Idolatry and the Ten Commandments

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • The First Commandment and the Shema Israel
  • The Undivided Word
  • God versus Moloch
  • The Laws of Covenant Membership
  • The Law as Power and Discrimination
The Second Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • The Lawful Approach to God
  • The Throne of Law
  • The Altar and Capital Punishment
  • Sacrifice and Responsibility
  • Holiness and Law
  • Law as Warfare
  • Law and Equality
The Third Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • The Negativism of the Law
  • Swearing and Revolution
  • The Oath and Society
  • Swearing and Worship
  • The Oath and Authority
  • The Name of God
The Fourth Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • The Sign of Freedom
  • The Sabbath and Life
  • The Sabbath and Work
  • The Sabbath and Authority
  • The Sabbath and Law
  • Appendix 4. The Economics of Sabbath Keeping by Gary North
The Fifth Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • The Authority of the Family
  • The Promise of Life
  • The Economics of the Family
  • Education and the Family
  • The Family and Delinquency
  • The Principle of Authority
  • The Family and Authority
  • The Holy Family
  • The Limitation of Man's Authority
The Sixth Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • "Thou Shalt Not Kill''
  • The Death Penalty
  • Origins of the State: Its Prophetic Office
  • ``To Make Alive''
  • Hybridization and Law
  • Abortion
  • Responsibility and Law
  • Restitution or Restoration
  • Military Laws and Production
  • Taxation
  • Love and the Law
  • Coercion
  • Quarantine Laws
  • Dietary Rules
  • Christ and the Law
  • Work
  • Amalek
  • Amalek and Violence
  • Violence as Presumption
  • Social Inheritance: Landmarks
The Seventh Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

Family Values:

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • Marriage
  • Marriage and Man
  • Marriage and Woman
  • Nakedness
  • Family Law
  • Marriage and Monogamy
  • Incest
  • The Levirate
  • Sex and Crime
  • Sex and Religion
  • Adultery
  • Divorce
  • The Family as Trustee
  • Homosexuality
  • Uncovering the Springs
  • The Mediatorial Work of the Law
  • The Transvestite
  • Bestiality
  • The Architecture of Life
  • Faithfulness
The Eighth Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • Dominion
  • Theft
  • Restitution and Forgiveness
  • Liability of the Bystander
  • Money and Measure
  • Usury
  • Responsibility
  • Stealing Freedom
  • Landmarks and Land
  • The Virgin Birth and Property
  • Fraud
  • Eminent Domain
  • Labor Laws
  • Robbing God
  • Prison
  • Lawful Wealth
  • Restitution to God
  • The Rights of Strangers, Widows, and Orphans
  • Injustice as Robbery
  • Theft and Law
  • Appendix 3. "Stewardship, Investment, and Usury: Financing the Kingdom of God" by Gary North
The Ninth Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • Tempting God
  • Sanctification and the Law
  • The False Prophet
  • The Witness of the False Prophet
  • Corroboration
  • Perjury
  • Jesus Christ as The Witness
  • False Witness
  • False Freedom
  • The Lying Tongue
  • Slander Within Marriage
  • Slander
  • Slander as Theft
  • ``Every Idle Word''
  • Trials by Ordeal and the Law of Nature
  • Judges
  • The Responsibility of Judges and Rulers
  • The Court
  • The Procedure of the Court
  • The Judgment of the Court
  • Perfection
The Tenth Commandment 
  1. Overview
  2. Do I Agree With God's Word?
  3. Have I Violated This Commandment?
  4. Am I Resolved to Obey it in the Future?
  5. How This Commandment was Applied in Early American Law

From Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:

  • Covetousness
  • The Law in Force
  • Special Privilege
  • Offenses Against Our Neighbor
  • The System
View | Thesis 10: The Priority of Agrarianism Gary North introduces Ron Paul's Curriculum with a video about the Industrial Revolution entitled "How Did We Get So Rich." It is an interesting debate.
View | Thesis 11: Anarcho-Theocracy and the Mountain The Bible is not just a book about "religion," i.e. liturgies and rituals, nor is it solely a book about law ("thou shalt," "thou shalt not"), even though every verse in the Bible is law. The Bible is also one of the most amazing pieces of literature in human history. It is a vast literary symphony, with recurring symbolic themes or leitmotifs. The "mountain" theme not only solves perplexing riddles of Bible prophecy, but helps us read the Bible like a picture.


• Patriarchy and "Government" The Bible describes The State as the invention of demonic men. Men who are not loyal to God's Institution of the Family tend to form States, or else become hippies and nomads.
• Patriarchy and "Paternalism" All human beings are created in families. Patriarchy is an inescapable concept. If the Christian pater does not train his family in the Ways of Peace, he will be oppressed by a “paternalistic” State. The Family is the basic social unit of a prosperous society.

Obedience through the Family eliminates tyranny, protects property.

View | Thesis 12: The Fall Of The Angels In a very real sense, here is the origin of "The State."
View | Thesis 13: The Fall of Man The Calvinistic doctrine of "The Depravity of Man" is the foundation of "checks and balances," a "separation of powers," and "The Bill of Rights." In one of the most famous passages of The Federalist, No. 51, James Madison said, "If men were angels," we would not need a government. But if men are depraved, we dare not entrust them with a monopoly of violence.
View | Thesis 14: The Purpose of Cain’s “Suspended Sentence"  
The Patriarchal Power of Capital Punishment Capital Punishment: The Biblical View Negates "the State."
• The Mark of Cain  
View | Thesis 15: Cain’s City: The Autonomy of the State  
• Raising Cain  
Why Cain Was Not Executed for Murder  
View | Thesis 16: The Demonic Roots of Violent Tyranny The Bible says that violence, committed by archist-like figures, was the reason for the global flood which Noah escaped. That flood obviously has numerous implications in other fields, such as geology and history, which students need to know.
• "The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men"  


Elders as Judges  
View | Thesis 17: The Post-Flood Absence of The Institutional Church  
View | Thesis 18: The Patriarchal Power Of “Capital Punishment.”  
View | Thesis 19: Nimrod: The First Politician (Post-Flood)  
Nimrod: The First Politician  
View | Thesis 20: Patriarchy vs. Political Slavery  
Nimrod: "Hunter of Men"  
View | Thesis 21: Demonic Activity At Babel

The Tower of Babel has been an inspiration for the United Nations and European Union, yet students in a Bible-free school might not know anything about the Tower of Babel

Tyranny and tower-building receives a great boost from a Bible-free curriculum.

View | Thesis 22: The Division of The Nations  
• Babel and "The Religion of Humanity"  
• The Dispersed Nations of "The Family of Man" See also: Chapter VII: THE UNITED NATIONS by Rousas J. Rushdoony in The Nature of the American System
View | Thesis 23: Evangelism In The Old Covenant Hospitality
Evangelism and Social Order
Private Service Creates Public Order
View | Thesis 24: Patriarchy, “National Defense,” And Military Socialism "National Defense" is unBiblical.
View | Thesis 25: Anarcho-Theocracy and “Sacraments”: Circumcision  
View | Thesis 27: Patriarchy, Precious Metals, and Money The Bible teaches a commodity standard for honest money. Most of our nation's economic problems would be solved if this issue were dealt with. Secular Austrian economics can tell you that if you pursue Monetary Policy A, you will experience economic effect X, or, if you pursue Monetary Policy B, you will experience economic effect Y. But secular Austrian economists cannot, and they are committed not to, tell you which policy is immoral and will bring the judgment of God on your nation. You need a Bible-based curriculum if students are to avoid the judgment of God.
View | Thesis 26: The Myth of The “Separation Of Church And State” They never were. They never can be. more
View | Thesis 28: Salvation is Political The Federal Department of Salvation


• Pharaohs and Pyramids  
View | Thesis 29: Patriarchy and Resistance to Tyranny in the Early Days of the Old Testament  
View | Thesis 30: As With All Angelic Activity, No State Action Is Coincidental or Random  
View | Thesis 31: Ceremony, Ritual, Liturgy, And The “Pedagogical Law”  
View | Thesis 32: Patriarchy and “Sacraments”: Passover  
View | Thesis 33: Patriarchs And “Elders”      Many Christians today call their church leaders "elders." But "elders" were "civil" officials in the Old Testament, not "ecclesiastical."
     These "95 Theses" reject the modern notion of "the Separation of Church and State." Instead, they promote the abolition of Church and State. Under Moses, a temporary institution of priesthood and temple was formed, but it was intended to be abolished with the Advent of the Messiah. It does not legitimately serve as a foundation for today's "institutional church" or for the modern State.
Patriarchs as "Elders"  
View | Thesis 34: The Need for a Pedagogical Legal Structure  
View | Thesis 35: Angels And The Pedagogical Legal Structure  
View | Thesis 36: The Promised Land One of the thorniest issues of foreign policy is the nation of Israel. No homeschool student is equipped to deal effectively with this issue without a knowledge of the Bible. The promises made to Abraham were both fulfilled and conditional. This obscure theological/Biblical debate is at the core of the support of neo-conservative pro-Israel policy by a hundred million American Christians.
View | Thesis 37: The Temporary Character of The First “Church Officers”  
View | Thesis 38: Anarcho-Theocracy and the Temple  
View | Thesis 39: Patriarchy and Education  
View | Thesis 40: Anarcho-Theocracy and Oaths The Oath of Office

In his famous "Farewell Address," George Washington said:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle

The Ron Paul Curriculum cannot afford to neglect "religion and morality." This is why today's politicians cannot be trusted to uphold constitutional government. The issues are theological.


View | Thesis 41: The Character of “gods”  
• Judges, Judgment, and Anarchy  
View | Thesis 42: National Security Without a State "National security" -- which is really government security -- is not Biblical.
• Patriarchy and National Security  
View | Thesis 43: The Prohibition of Monarchism More than just "monarchism," the issue is God's government vs. Man's government.
1 Samuel 8: The State as Rejection of God  
1 Samuel 8 and Monarchy by Thomas Paine  
View | Thesis 44: The State as the Answer to the Prayers of Rebels  
View | Thesis 45: The Inferiority of Old Covenant Typological Mediators  


God Sends EVIL ! This section of Theses proves that God "ordained" the State, because God "ordains" all evil. The State is evil. This is one of the most important issues facing the Human Race. Annihilation of billions of human beings is the cost of getting it wrong.
See also:
Angels and God's Throne of Government  
Stars and Idolatry  
View | Thesis 46: Romans 8:28 and The State Romans 8:28 says God works all things together for good. Even evil things.
View | Thesis 47: God’s Sovereign Ordering of Every State  
View | Thesis 48: The State Serves God by Sinning  
View | Thesis 49: The State As Sanctified “Servant”/ “Deacon”/”Minister”  
View | Thesis 50: The State Does Not Serve God Self-Consciously  
View | Thesis 51: Only One King Self-Consciously Serves God  
View | Thesis 52: Judgment of the State in Heaven and Earth  
View | Thesis 53: Moloch-Worship and the Nature of Idols  
View | Thesis 54: War, Capital Punishment, and “The Sword”  
View | Thesis 55: The Throne of David  
• The Power of the Sword  
• "In the Name of the Law"  


View | Thesis 56: Statism At The Time Of Christ  
View | Thesis 57: Kingship, Citizenship, and The Gospel  
View | Thesis 58: The Civil Authority of The Pastor: Christ The Shepherd Like Melchizedek, the priest-king of Jerusalem, Jesus The Messiah is the integration of Church and State, Priest and King, and the abolition of earthly priests and princes.
View | Thesis 59: Jewish Opposition To The Kingdom  
View | Thesis 60: Christ’s Binding of Satan Why liberty is possible.
Why the State -- and the "Principalities and Powers" behind it -- is now obsolete.
View | Thesis 61: True Power vs. Political Power  
View | Thesis 62: Agrarianism As Environmentalism To question the Industrial Revolution is not to adopt the errors of the "Green" or "environmentalist" movement.
View | Thesis 63: Christ’s Ascension to the Throne of David  
View | Thesis 64: The Camaraderie of “Church” And State  
View | Thesis 65: CNN and the Coming of the Kingdom  
View | Thesis 66: The Anointed King vs. Political Kings  
View | Thesis 67: Jesus The Nazarene  
Why the State Encourages Immorality  
"Unlucky 13": Isaiah 13, Romans 13, Revelation 13  
A Romans-Eye View of Romans 13  
"Principalities and Powers"  
Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-filled Rooms"  
Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists  
Taxation, Representation, and the Myth of the State  
Why the State is not a "Divine Institution"  


View | Thesis 68: Extremism vs. Neutrality Extremism is commanded by Christ
View | Thesis 69: Sons of God and Pedagogues  
View | Thesis 70: Judgment and the Church-Courts of Christ The Apostle Paul says believers are to adjudicate their disputes in the Church, not in pagan courts.
View | Thesis 71: The Apostolic Church and the Spread of Power  
View | Thesis 72: Patriarchy and the House-Church  
View | Thesis 73: Patriarchy and the “Sacraments”: Baptism  
View | Thesis 74: Patriarchy and the “Sacraments”: “The Lord’s Supper”  
View | Thesis 75: Self-Ordination  
View | Thesis 76: Salt and Statism  
View | Thesis 77: Political Authority and Kingdom Citizenship Becoming a Christian is like becoming a naturalized citizen [pdf]
View | Thesis 78: Anarcho-Theocracy and Resistance to Tyranny in the Last Days of the Old Covenant  
View | Thesis 79: Taxation, Kingdom Citizenship, and Overcoming Through Suffering Taxation is theft.
View | Thesis 80: Violence Also: Zero Aggression Policy
Because Christians should not initiate force to impose God's will on others, Christians must be anarchists:
View | Thesis 81: Vengeance Christians must not take vengeance on their or God's enemies.
God uses the evil "State" to do this.
View | Thesis 82: Creationist Anarcho-Socialism and Darwinian Archo-Socialism Some have said that the early church practiced "communism." But it was voluntary. Nobody wore a uniform and acted like the KGB.
View | Thesis 83: Pedagogy and The Powers  
View | Thesis 84: The End of Archists: The Pedagogues Judged by the Church  
View | Thesis 85: The Last Days of the Old Covenant  
• Salt and Statism  
• Ghostbusters on Mars Hill  


View | Thesis 86: “The Millennium”  
View | Thesis 87: “Ruling with Christ”  
Angels and Autarchy  
View | Thesis 88: Salvation as Light and Social Healing  
View | Thesis 89: Edenic Restoration  
View | Thesis 90: The New Heavens and New Earth  
View | Thesis 91: The Unconverted In the “Millennium” This point is important as an explanation of why a Biblical society can be held in place without the institution of "The State." Social pressure provides real incentives without coercion.
View | Thesis 92: The Last Acts of Earthly Archists  
View | Thesis 93: The City of God  
View | Thesis 94: We are in Heaven Now  
View | Thesis 95: Perfection  

200 million people in America claim to be Christian. If all of them would

the State would disappear.

One reason many of these Christians don't actively work for Micah's Vine & Fig Tree society is that they believe God has predestined the world to get worse and worse. This is an unBiblical view.

A second reason many Christians don't actively work for Micah's Vine & Fig Tree society is that they believe God has "ordained" the State, and that God commands us to have a State, and abolishing the State would be contrary to His will. This too is an unBiblical view. It begins with an erroneous interpretation of Paul's Letter to the Romans.

Vine & Fig Tree's Romans 13 Home Page
The most disastrously misunderstood Biblical text in history!

Abolishing "The State"

"'Christian anarchism?' You must be joking!"

This webpage is no joke. The 21st century will be an incomparable blood-bath if Christians do not repudiate the political mythology of institutionalized vengeance. Christians brought liberty to the Western world by questioning the universally-accepted belief in "the divine right of kings." Now is the time for a "paradigm-shift" of equal magnitude. Our concept of social order should depend on Godly families, not institutionalized political violence.

Vine & Fig Tree
Vision for a Humane Society

The name "Vine & Fig Tree" comes from the fourth chapter of the prophet Micah, and is set forth here. You've probably heard Micah's words before -- we beat our "swords into plowshares" and everyone dwells safely under their own "Vine & Fig Tree.

America's Founding Fathers were familiar with this vision: "Vine & Fig Tree" is the worldview that made America "the greatest nation on God's green earth."

George Washington's Diaries are available online at the Library of Congress. That website introduces those writings with these words:
No theme appears more frequently in the writings of Washington than his love for his land. The diaries are a monument to that concern. In his letters he referred often, as an expression of this devotion and its resulting contentment, to an Old Testament passage. After the Revolution, when he had returned to Mount Vernon, he wrote the Marquis de Lafayette on Feb. 1, 1784: "At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree." This phrase occurs at least 11 times in Washington's letters. "And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree" (2 Kings 18:31).

"Under My Own Vine and Fig Tree, 1798" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, Lora Robins Collection of Virginia Art, Virginia Historical Society
Under My Own Vine and Fig Tree, 1798
Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
Virginia Historical Society
Lora Robins Collection of Virginia Art

Many other American Founders wrote of this ideal. "Vine & Fig Tree" is the original "American Dream."

The phrase occurs a number of times in Scripture. These references are visual reminders of the Hebrew word for salvation, which means
• peace,
• wholeness,
• health,
• welfare, and
• private property free from pirates and princes.
When today's Americans hear the word "salvation," they usually think about going to heaven when they die. When the writers of the Bible used the word "salvation," they wanted you to be thinking about dwelling safely under your own Vine & Fig Tree during this life -- much more often than they wanted you to be thinking about what you'll be doing in the afterlife.

The best place to see the Vine & Fig Tree ideal is in the book of Micah.

This chapter of the Bible could be the foundation for an entire home school curriculum. Let's look at Micah's prophecy (on the left) and ask a few questions (on the right):
And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
And it will be raised above the hills
  Are we in the "last days?"

When did this establishment take place?

And the peoples will stream to it.
And many nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
And to the House of the God of Jacob,
Is Christianity doomed to minority status throughout history? Hasn't Christianity been growing since the first century?
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths."
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  What should be the Christian's attitude toward the Law? Isn't every Word of a "Lord" "Law?"
And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their
swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation
And never again will they train for war.
Are we commanded to beat our swords into plowshares today? Or do we wait for the Second Coming?
And each of them will sit under his   What about private property?
Vine and under his  fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid.
For the LORD of hosts has spoken.
What about technology? What about the military? What is it that really brings "security?"
Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us, we will walk
In the Name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
  What if all the politicians, university professors, TV commentators, newspaper editors, rock stars, CEO's, athletes, authors, and think-tanks repudiate the Vine & Fig Tree vision and tell you not to believe it?
In that day, saith the LORD,
will I assemble her that halteth,
and I will gather her that is driven out,
and her that I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted a remnant,
and her that was cast far off a strong nation:
and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion
from henceforth, even for ever.
Should we strive to be on top, or to help those on the bottom? Is God on the side of those who have accomplished much by their own power and initiative, or is He on the side of those who are willing to be used by God to accomplish much to His Glory?

Seven Themes in Micah's Vine & Fig Tree Prophecy

  Micah's Prophecy (Micah 4:1-7)
click for audio
Archetypes Controversy Comfort
1 And it will come about in the last days
[For the LORD of hosts has spoken.]
That the mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
And it will be raised above the hills


vs. "Free Will"
Chose birth?
• Nobody used "free will" to come into existence
• Real issue: The nature of the Creator | Person or Mud
"Free Will" = imago dei | Image of God
 • reason
 • planning for future
 • symphonies
Protection is an act of love
Prayer  = anti-deism
      "Last Days"

V&FT "impossible even for God."

Predestinated tribulation?
No. Vine & Fig Tree
2 And the peoples will stream to it.
And many nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
And to the House of the God of Jacob,


Conversion of the Gentiles

One religion is superior to the others

One has caught our attention: jihadism

blow-up vs. convert

Peace is possible
Peace is inevitable
3 That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths."
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.


• The God who gave you life deserves your respect
Every Word this God speaks deserves your attention/obedience
• Bible is not just for "private" religion, "down in your heart"
• Also for public policy
Textbook for every area
When Americans learned the Bible in public schools,
America was the most prosperous, most admired nation on earth

Now U.S. exports weapons/pornography

Laws of Nature and of Nature's God.

"judgmental" vs. Hitler

4 [And each of them will sit under his
Vine and under his fig tree,]


Male + Female
Father + mother

Family = "undemocratic"

When families are functional, the State is unnecessary;
Archism is suppressed

Adams: mothers:
religion + morality

5 Then they will hammer their
swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation
And never again will they train for war.


Thou shalt not kill

Thou shalt not steal


Pacifism = "criminals will take over"
really? More people will die under pacifism than under archism?
More money will be confiscated under pacifism than under archists?
  • OT = violence, slavery
  • Jesus = irrelevant utopian hippie; not
    "practical" or "realistic."


6 And each of them will sit under his
Vine and under his Fig Tree,
With no one to make them afraid.
For the LORD of hosts has spoken.


Agrarianism vs. technology


Garden of Eden / City of God

Wilderness vs. Garden

"False weights and Measures."

7 Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us, we will walk
In the Name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
In that day, saith the LORD
       will I assemble her that halteth,
and I will gather her that is driven out,
and her that I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted a remnant,
and her that was cast far off a strong nation:
and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion
from henceforth, even for ever.


social darwinism

immigration vs. "enumerated powers."

works of mercy vs. focus on "winners," celebrities, power-brokers
  "Iron Sharpens Iron"


Purpose is not to have an argument
shout like Fox News
Don't sign up if you just want to tell us we're wrong.

Bereans, search scriptures

"I'll have to think about this"

"This is what I've always been looking for"