By Al Benson Jr.
Recently I watched a You Tube video presentation by Pastor Dan Fisher of Yukon, Oklahoma on a group of pastors during our First War for Independence (the second one was fought from 1861-65 and still continues culturally) which the British dubbed “the Black Robed Regiment.” Pastor Fisher has also written a book dealing with this, Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment.
Larry Pratt, the head of Gun Owners of America (an organization I support) wrote an article about this in July of 2014 that appeared on http://www.freedomoutpost.com and he described the Black Robed Regiment as “patriot preachers of the 18th Century, who led their congregations to battle the abusive tyranny of the Redcoats.” Can you even picture such a thing today, given the condition of most of our churches? It’s difficult.
We’ve been told for years that “religion and politics don’t mix and they are the two things you never talk about.” I can remember hearing this at home as a kid. It was the prevailing theology in most of the country in the late 1940s and 50s when I grew up, and although that has changed somewhat, the results, due to historical ignorance, have been mixed.
Larry Pratt noted in his article that “The Founding Fathers explicitly believed that politics and religion had to be mixed. How fitting that the ‘shot heard round the world’ was fired in front of Jonas Clark’s church on the Lexington green. During the battle, men went back and forth from the church to get ammo, because that’s where their powder and ball were stored. A nineteenth-century historian, John Adams, said that freedom was not born a bastard. Freedom was birthed when church and state were still married. A British writer, Horace Walpole, said at the time, ‘America has run off with a Presblyterian Parson’.” Quite a few Presbyterian pastors were involved in the First War of Independence, but then so were Lutheran, Baptist, Congregational, and other pastors also. Pastors in that day seem to have had a vision that has been lost in our day.
Dan Fisher has argued, and I have to agree with him, that politics is dirty today and one of the main reasons is that Christians have removed themselves from participation for the most part. Oh, they’ll do their “patriotic” duty and go vote, but they will not take the time to study the issues and do any homework on the personalities involved because, after all, politics is “of the world.” Sorry folks, I have to disagree. It’s “of the world” because Christians have allowed it to get there by default. Pastor Fisher feels that pastors “should teach about biblical principles of liberty and government—indeed about all of life—so their congregants will have a template to use with politicians. Failure to do so today, he says, has resulted in many Christians voting wrong.”
Larry Pratt made an interesting statement. He said “Now, more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body is ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption…” And we must tolerate it, Christians included. Look what we’ve elected to office in the past decades! How many recent presidents have claimed to be “Christian” and Christians have voted for them without bothering to try to find out anything about their backgrounds or what organizations they belong to or any of it. We just take their word and then when the govern like heathens the Christians are shocked. Well, duh—. You still don’t get it! And now the current crop of political “conservatives” are all running to sign up for the 2016 presidential race and all claiming to be “Christian.” It’s all a farce. Any candidate who gets close to the White House will have to have the approval of the CFR and the Bilderbergers, no matter which party he, or she, or it, is in.
I read another article about the Black Robed Regiment, published in the January/February 2011 issue of http://www.libertymagazine.org and written by Gregory W. Hamilton that seemed to view the Black Robed Regiment with kind of mixed feelings. Mr. Hamilton noted that the Black Robed Regiment preachers were “spiritual leaders who had largely strayed from the reform principles of the First Great Awakening. A goodly number of the preachers who participated and led during that First Great Awakening were influenced by the Scottish, English, and French Enlightenments. They opposed some of their colleagues’ fundamentalist approach to Christianity and a brash and brazen involvement in political matters. Some of these Great Awakening preachers…had some considerable influence on the thinking of many of the constitutional founders, who were ‘enlightened’ thinkers as well. They, along with the founders, wanted to dismantle church establishments and see an increased separation between church and state therefore realized.” Seems like he’s telling us that many of our “constitutional founders” were, in some measure, products of the Enlightenment. Folks, I submit that this is not good news.
But then Hamilton said: “The Black Robed Preachers, on the other hand, were, for the most part, not supportive of this new wave of so-called ‘Enlightenmet’ thinking and wanted a return to Puritan values and the preservation and strengthening of religious and church establishments through state legislative means, including the continued taxation of the public for their support.” Now there’s a slight rub here. I can agree with resistance to Enlightenment thinking. That kind of mindset has done us no favors, but I don’t necessarily agree with the state financing the church. The state should be influenced by the church but it should not finance it. For it is an old truth that what government pays for it eventually controls.
Then Hamilton made an interesting statement. I don’t know if he’s accurate here or not, but he stated: “Few realize today that these so-called black-robed radicals fought ratification of the Constitution in every state and were thus one reason, among many other factors, that Jay, Hamilton, and Madison wrote the Federalist Papers—to make sure it was ratified.” I had not been aware that the Black Robed Regiment had opposed ratification of the Constitution. Their taking that position must have meant that they understood something that many, or most, other folks did not. If the constitutional thinkers had been influenced by the Enlightenment, then how much of that influence crept into the Constitution? That might be a subject worth studying at some point.
David Alan Black has written on http://www.daveblackonline.com that: “…we need pastors who are willing to join today’s ‘Black Regiment.’ The Black Regiment was a group of clergy who were fierce opponents of British tyranny and a driving force in the decision of the colonies to seek independence. King George had provoked many of these men to leave England by demanding that they submit to licensing by the crown. He called them the Black Regiment because of the black robes they wore when preaching. These men staunchly opposed the divine right of kings. Their cry was, ‘Restore the crown rights of King Jesus!’”
And a final thought for those that insist the religion be kept out of politics, if you understand the sovereignty of God then you have to understand the God is concerned with what goes on in all areas of life—religion, politics, culture, education, art, whatever it is. God, as creator of the universe and of man, is concerned with it all and He is concerned with what man does with it all. There are not certain areas that are “sacred” while the rest is “secular.” To God it is all sacred and His Word teaches us how to deal with all of it—if we are willing to pay attention.
It is to our detriment today that so many churches suffer from the 501c3 syndrome which renders them incapable of saying anything about our miserable political situation—a situation that will only get worse the longer the church remains silent.