The Rutherford Institute is a Christian Right legal organization that advances a Christian Right ideology through the legal system. A review of the Institute’s activities in 2005, show that the Institute was involved primarily in cases in which the rights of Christians were being protected. The Institute is named after a 17th century Scottish minister named Samuel Rutherford who defied the King of England by claiming that God’s laws are greater than the laws of man.
The Rutherford Institute’s leader, John Whitehead, has been associated with a Christian Reconstructionism or the idea that all law, civil affairs, and the government should be strictly based on the Bible. Christian Reconstructionists believe that every aspect of society, including law, medicine, education, the media, and the arts and entertainment, should be based upon the Reconstructionists’ interpretation of the Bible. Strict interpretation includes swift justice for sinners, including the death penalty for abortionists, and ‘unrepentant’ homosexuals (source).” The Christian Reconstructionist movement has had a considerable influence on evangelical Christianity and has apparently had considerable influence on Whitehead. While Whitehead has gone to great lengths to deny that he is Christian Reconstructionist, his 1982 book The Second American Revolution references the architect of Christian Reconstructionism, Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony and Rushdoony has descrbied “our [Rushdoony and Whitehead's] plans, through Rutherford, to fight the battle against statism and the freedom of Christ’s Kingdom.” Indeed, Rushdoony helped found the organization and served early on as a board member (source).