Since the inception of the TEA party movement and the renewed interest in our Constitution, patriots across our nation have spoken of our Founding Fathers and the courage required in defying King George for the purpose of liberty, thereby risking their fortunes and endangering their lives as well as those of their families.
But there was another group of courageous patriots who haven’t received the recognition they deserve, for it was the leadership of the Black Robed Regiment from the pulpits that empowered their congregations to fight for freedom and enabled the very beginnings of our fledgling nation.
Today, the institutional church shies from sermons related to political discourse but according to WallBuilders founder David Barton, the clergy of Revolutionary War days were very much involved in the discussion of independence and government. In fact, he documents that our rights established in the Declaration of Independence “were nothing more than a listing of sermon topics that had been preached from the pulpit in the two decades leading up to the American Revolution.” 1
Unfortunately, years of revisionist history and the threat of losing non-profit status has effectively silenced our American churches regarding liberty and tyranny. I absolutely do not advocate pastors endorsing political candidates from the pulpit but why the hesitancy to address issues and governmental policies that threaten our God-given freedoms?
In Andy Andrew’s book, How Do You Kill 1 Million People? Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think, he shares an eyewitness account from a member of a German church whose congregation would hear the approaching railcars filled with Jews heading to the concentration camps. Rather than speaking the truth about those doomed individuals in the cattle cars or what was happening in their country, they simply sang louder to drown out the cries of those on the trains. Are our own clergy and congregations raising the volume inside the sanctuary in order to ignore the continual assaults on our liberties? Or, are they finally willing to speak out regarding the issues that are bankrupting our nation and stripping economic freedom from all Americans? Will they begin to declare the importance of political engagement as a necessary means of protecting our liberties?
Silence comes with a price as evidenced by the Catholic Church and the battle regarding the free birth control and abortifacients health care mandate to its employees which is in complete conflict with church doctrine. This level of federal interference did not occur overnight but is rather the result of incremental steps of control while the churches have remained silent.
Recently, I ran across the following quote pictured on a church sign: “In the face of tyranny, a silent pulpit is a complicit pulpit” and it included a scripture reference from Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 33:6 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand.'
As we celebrate Independence Day, I hope you’ll take the time to read our Declaration of Independence. Try to imagine the various sermons preached in the years preceding the Revolutionary War…sermons that likely resonated with elements of ”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I certainly thank my Creator that the clergy of the Black Robe Regiment didn’t have to worry about losing their tax-exempt status during our Revolutionary War; otherwise, the founders’ dream of the United States of America might have never become a reality.
1 “What is the Black Robe Regiment? A Brief History by David Barton” http://brr.wallbuilders.com/
This post by SGP's own Alabama State Coordinator, Marcia Chambliss, was originally published in the July 2012 edition of The Alabama Gazette.