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Selective Depravity

For some years we have seen our culture warring against itself. Everything is politicized. “You are either for us or against us,” seems to be the operating principle.

Mark R. Rushdoony
  • Mark R. Rushdoony
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Recently during a Chalcedon podcast, Martin Selbrede, Andrea Schwartz, and I discussed the tumultuous spring we have had in 2020. For some years we have seen our culture warring against itself. Everything is politicized. “You are either for us or against us,” seems to be the operating principle.

A few years ago each political party promised to “bring people together” and exercise “bi-partisan leadership.” Even when nobody believed it was sincere, it was the expected claim. Now, there is no such effort to conceal hostility to other parties, and political rhetoric and slander never stops, even in Congress and statehouses.

Martin Selbrede brought up my father’s reference to the “doctrine of selective depravity,” If we do not see the problem of man as sin and guilt as defined by God, it will be assigned as defined by men. Marx saw depravity in capitalists. Hitler saw it in Jews. Both then decided those they had “selected” as depraved had to be punished for their “sins.” Their sins required atonement. Atonement for capitalists involved their imprisonment and banishment to menial work. Atonement for Jews was their death.

Racists, like Hitler, see evil as centered in one racial group or another. Environmentalists see evil in technology, and so on. As long as we fail to use God’s law as a standard, we leave room for one murderous form of false atonement or another. The result is a reign of real evil in the name of virtue.

How far will the West descend into this abyss before it returns to a true understanding of sin and guilt and their resolution in the atonement of Jesus Christ? I do not know, but that is the only way that offers forgiveness and hope for a positive outcome. Listen to the cries for “justice” by the mob. There is no hint of forgiveness in them; it is only a cry of rage and vengeance.

The work of Christian Reconstruction is frustrating, but it is, ultimately, the hope for a light at the end of this dark period of humanism’s death throes.

Mark R. Rushdoony
  • Mark R. Rushdoony

Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.

He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.

In 1998, he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at

He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark Rushdoony lives in Vallecito, California, his home of 43 years with his wife of 45 years and his youngest son. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

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