Court Orders D.C. Transit Authority to Accept and Run Unconstitutionally Rejected Ads

In December 2023, First Liberty, ACLU, and Steptoe filed a lawsuit on behalf of WallBuilders relating to ads that were rejected by the DC Transit Authority. (See more about the history of this issue here.) We now have great news!

“Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“WMATA”) to accept and run four advertisements that it had unconstitutionally rejected. The court ruled that WMATA’s ban on issue ads violates the First Amendment’s requirement that restrictions on speech be reasonable.”

Read the full Press Release from First Liberty here.

These ads have already started to appear in Washington DC! You can follow WallBuilders’ social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and X) to stay updated.

The ads link to a collection of quotes by numerous Founding Fathers via our article “The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible”: https://wallbuilders.com/resource/the-founding-fathers-on-jesus-christianity-and-the-bible/.

Support WallBuilders’ Mission! Donate here!

Black Robe Regiment Hub

What Is It?

The modern National Black Robe Regiment (NBRR) is a network of national and local pastors that equips and empowers pastors to engage in their Biblical and historical role to stand boldly for righteousness and transform society through spiritual and cultural engagement.

The early American pastor had a reputation as a courageous and fearless leader, causing the British during the American Revolution to dub them “The Black Regiment,” a reference to their clerical robes. Those pastors boldly proclaimed the Word of God as it applied to everything in life, whether spiritual or temporal—about eternal life in Christ, taxes, education, public policy, good government, the military, or any other current issues that the Bible addressed.

If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it…. If satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.” – Charles Finney

Today, the struggle is for the heart and soul of America. Never before has there been such openly orchestrated frontal attacks against America’s core beliefs, including traditional morality, public religious expressions, the rights of conscience, inalienable rights, common sense economics, and limited constitutional government. An American Revolution, not with guns, but with the same pastoral fervor and leadership is needed today.

This resource is designed to help pastors fulfill that calling.


Historical Origins

Rev Frederick Muhlenberg

The Black Robed Regiment was the name that the British placed on the courageous and patriotic American clergy during the Founding Era (a backhanded reference to the black robes they wore). Significantly, the British blamed the Black Regiment for American Independence, and rightfully so, for modern historians have documented that:

There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.

It is strange to today’s generation to think that the rights listed 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, but such was the case….

Read the Full Article Here!


Helpful Resources

Use these resources in your church or consider sending them to your pastor or priest adding a personal note of encouragement to not keep silent on the divisive issues facing our culture.

WallBuilders does not necessarily endorse or agree with all the information from unaffiliated organizations. Listings are provided as additional resources that may be utilized to affirm, enhance, and/or supplement Black Robe Regiment efforts.

Other Groups

http://www.blackrobereg.org/
https://www.danfisherbrr.com/

Legal Resources

ACLJ information for 501(c)(3) incorporated churches

Liberty Counsel and First Liberty have a number of very useful resources for churches and pastors to assist you in informing your church family about today’s issues. Use these resources to learn about what you can and can’t do politically.

This article and this article from the IRS lists activities that are and are not permissible for 501(c)(3) incorporated churches.
Read WallBuilders corrections to an intimidation letter from the Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent to pastors and churches in 2006 attempting to intimidating Christians and churches from being involved.

Christian Legal Organizations


Historical Resources

The sermons and proclamations listed below come from WallBuilders’ Collection. There are many more beyond this curated list available on our Resources page.

Sermons

Election Sermons

These sermons were preached to government officials at the state capitol upon the annual opening of the legislature

Governmental Sermons

Patriotic Sermons

Proclamations

The American practice of calling days of fasting or thanksgiving was so strong that by 1815, civil governments had issued at least 1,400 official prayer proclamations. Thousands more have been issued since that time—a tradition that now spans more than four centuries of the American Story, and one that continues to the present day since a 1952 federal law requires that every president issue a prayer proclamation on the National Day of Prayer, commemorated the first Thursday of every May, and observed by every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

History of the Black Robe Regiment

The Black Robed Regiment was the name that the British placed on the courageous and patriotic American clergy during the Founding Era (a backhanded reference to the black robes they wore).1 Significantly, the British blamed the Black Regiment for American Independence,2 and rightfully so, for modern historians have documented that:

There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.3

It is strange to today’s generation to think that the rights listed 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, but such was the case.

Influence of The Clergy

But it was not just the British who saw the American pulpit as largely responsible for American independence and government, our own leaders agreed. For example, John Adams rejoiced that “the pulpits have thundered4 and specifically identified several ministers as being among the “characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential” in the “awakening and a revival of American principles and feelings” that led to American independence.5

Across subsequent generations, the great and positive influence of the Revolutionary clergy was faithfully reported. For example:

As a body of men, the clergy were pre-eminent in their attachment to liberty. The pulpits of the land rang with the notes of freedom.6 The American Quarterly Register [MAGAZINE], 1833

If Christian ministers had not preached and prayed, there might have been no revolution as yet – or had it broken out, it might have been crushed.7 Bibliotheca Sacra [BRITISH PERIODICAL], 1856

The ministers of the Revolution were, like their Puritan predecessors, bold and fearless in the cause of their country. No class of men contributed more to carry forward the Revolution and to achieve our independence than did the ministers. . . . [B]y their prayers, patriotic sermons, and services [they] rendered the highest assistance to the civil government, the army, and the country.8 B. F. Morris, HISTORIAN, 1864

The Constitutional Convention and the written Constitution were the children of the pulpit.9 Alice Baldwin, HISTORIAN, 1918

Had ministers been the only spokesman of the rebellion – had Jefferson, the Adamses, and [James] Otis never appeared in print – the political thought of the Revolution would have followed almost exactly the same line. . . . In the sermons of the patriot ministers . . . we find expressed every possibly refinement of the reigning political faith.10 Clinton Rossiter, HISTORIAN, 1953

The American clergy were faithful exponents of the fullness of God’s Word, applying its principles to every aspect of life, thus shaping America’s institutes and culture. They were also at the forefront of proclaiming liberty, resisting tyranny, and opposing any encroachments on God-given rights and freedoms. In 1898, Methodist bishop and church historian Charles Galloway rightly observed of these ministers:

Mighty men they were, of iron nerve and strong hand and unblanched cheek and heart of flame. God needed not reeds shaken by the wind, not men clothed in soft raiment [Matthew 11:7-8], but heroes of hardihood and lofty courage. . . . And such were the sons of the mighty who responded to the Divine call.11

But the ministers during the Revolutionary period were not necessarily unique; they were simply continuing what ministers had been doing to shape American government and culture in the century and a half preceding the Revolution.

Clergy in American Colonies

For example, the early settlers who arrived in Virginia beginning in 1606 included ministers such as the Revs. Robert Hunt, Richard Burke, William Mease, Alexander Whitaker, William Wickham, and others. In 1619 they helped form America’s first representative government: the Virginia House of Burgesses, with its members elected from among the people.12 That legislature met in the Jamestown church and was opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bucke; the elected legislators then sat in the church choir loft to conduct legislative business.13 As Bishop Galloway later observed:

[T]he first movement toward democracy in America was inaugurated in the house of God and with the blessing of the minister of God.14

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts to establish their colony. Their pastor, John Robinson, charged them to elect civil leaders who would not only seek the “common good” but who would also eliminate special privileges and status between governors and the governed15 – a radical departure from the practice in the rest of the world at that time. The Pilgrims eagerly took that message to heart, organizing a representative government and holding annual elections.16 By 1636, they had also enacted a citizens’ Bill of Rights – America’s first.17

In 1630, the Puritans arrived and founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and under the leadership of their ministers, they, too, established representative government with annual elections.18 By 1641, they also had established a Bill of Rights (the “Body of Liberties”)19 – a document of individual rights drafted by the Rev. Nathaniel Ward.20

In 1636, the Rev. Roger Williams established the Rhode Island Colony and its representative form of government,21 explaining that “the sovereign, original, and foundation of civil power lies in the people.”22

The same year, the Rev. Thomas Hooker (along with the Revs. Samuel Stone, John Davenport, and Theophilus Eaton) founded Connecticut.23 They not only established an elective form of government24 but in a 1638 sermon based on Deuteronomy 1:13 and Exodus 18:21, the Rev. Hooker explained the three Biblical principles that had guided the plan of government in Connecticut:

I. [T]he choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God’s own allowance.

II. The privilege of election . . . belongs to the people . . .

III. They who have power to appoint officers and magistrates [i.e., the people], it is in their power also to set the bounds and limitations of the power and place.25

Colonial Charters & Constitutions

From the Rev. Hooker’s teachings and leadership sprang the “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” – America’s first written constitution (and the direct antecedent of the federal Constitution).26 But while Connecticut produced America’s first written constitution, it definitely had not produced America’s first written document of governance, for such written documents had been the norm for every colony founded by Bible-minded Christians. After all, this was the Scriptural model: God had given Moses a fixed written law to govern that nation – a pattern that recurred throughout the Scriptures (c.f., Deuteronomy 17:18-20, 31:24, II Chronicles 34:15-21, etc.). As renowned Cornell University professor Clinton Rossiter affirmed:

[T]he Bible gave a healthy spur to the belief in a written constitution. The Mosaic Code, too, was a higher law that men could live by – and appeal to – against the decrees and whims of ordinary men.27

Written documents of governance placed direct limitations on government and gave citizens maximum protection against the whims of selfish leaders. This practice of providing written documents had been the practice of American ministers before the Rev. Hooker’s constitution of 1638 and continued long after.

For example, in 1676, New Jersey was chartered and then divided into two religious sub-colonies: Puritan East Jersey and Quaker West Jersey; each had representative government with annual elections.28 The governing document for West Jersey was written by Christian minister William Penn. It declared:

We lay a foundation for after ages to understand their liberty . . . that they may not be brought in bondage but by their own consent, for we put the power in the people.29

Under Penn’s document . . .

Legislation was vested in a single assembly elected by all the inhabitants; the elections were to be by secret ballot; the principle of “No taxation without representation” was clearly asserted; freedom of conscience, trial by jury, and immunity from arrest without warrant were guaranteed.30

In 1681, Penn wrote the Frame of Government for Pennsylvania. It, too, established annual elections and provided numerous guarantees for citizen rights.31

Clergy Helped Secure Liberties

There are many additional examples, but it is indisputable that ministers played a critical role in instituting and securing many of America’s most significant civil rights and freedoms. As Founding Father Noah Webster affirmed:

The learned clergy . . . had great influence in founding the first genuine republican governments ever formed and which, with all the faults and defects of the men and their laws, were the best republican governments on earth. At this moment, the people of this country are indebted chiefly to their institutions for the rights and privileges which are enjoyed.32

Daniel Webster (the great “Defender of the Constitution”) agreed:

[T]o the free and universal reading of the Bible in that age men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty.33

Because Christian ministers established in America freedoms and opportunities not generally available even in the mother country of Great Britain, they were also at the forefront of resisting encroachments on the civil and religious liberties that they had helped secure.

For example, when crown-appointed Governor Edmund Andros tried to seize the charters of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, revoke their representative governments, and force the establishment of the British Anglican Church upon them, opposition to Andros’ plan was led by the Revs. Samuel Willard, Increase Mather, and especially the Rev. John Wise.34 The Rev. Wise was even imprisoned by Andros for his resistance but he remained an unflinching voice for freedom, penning in 1710 and 1717 two works forcefully asserting that democracy was God’s ordained government in both Church and State,35 thus causing historians to title him “The Founder of American Democracy.”36

And when Governor Berkley refused to recognize Virginia’s self-government, Quaker minister William Edmundson and the Rev. Thomas Harrison led the opposition.37 When Governor Thomas Hutchinson ignored the elected Massachusetts legislature, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper led the opposition.38 And a similar pattern was followed when Governor William Burnet dissolved the New Hampshire legislature, Governor Botetourt disbanded the Virginia House of Burgesses, Governor James Wright disbanded the Georgia Assembly, etc.

Leading To War for Independence

And because American preachers consistently opposed encroachments on civil and religious liberties, when the British imposed on Americans the 1765 Stamp Act (an early harbinger of the rupture between the two nations soon to follow), at the vanguard of the opposition to that act were the Revs. Andrew Eliot, Charles Chauncey, Samuel Cooper, Jonathan Mayhew, and George Whitefield39 (Whitefield even accompanied Benjamin Franklin to Parliament to protest the Act and assert colonial rights).40 In fact, one of the reasons that American resistance to the Stamp Act became so widespread was because the “clergy fanned the fire of resistance to the Stamp Act into a strong flame.”41

Five years later in 1770 when the British opened fire on their own citizens in the famous “Boston Massacre,” ministers again stepped to the forefront, boldly denouncing that abuse of power. A number of sermons were preached on the subject, including by the Revs. John Lathrop, Charles Chauncey, and Samuel Cooke;42 the Massachusetts House of Representatives even ordered that Rev. Cooke’s sermon be printed and distributed.43

As tensions with the British continued to grow, ministers such as the Rev. George Whitefield44 and the Rev. Timothy Dwight45 became some of the earliest leaders to advocate America’s separation from Great Britain.

There are many additional examples, but the historical records respecting the leadership of the clergy were so clear that in 1851, distinguished historian Benson Lossing concluded:

[T]he Puritan preachers also promulgated the doctrine of civil liberty – that the sovereign was amenable to the tribunal of public opinion and ought to conform in practice to the expressed will of the majority of the people. By degrees their pulpits became the tribunes of the common people; and . . . on all occasions, the Puritan ministers were the bold asserters of that freedom which the American Revolution established.46

Clergy Fight in the War

However, Christian ministers did not just teach the principles that led to independence, they also participated on the battlefield to secure that independence. One of the numerous examples is the Rev. Jonas Clark.

When Paul Revere set off on his famous ride, it was to the home of the Rev. Clark in Lexington that he rode. Patriot leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams were lodging (as they often did) with the Rev. Clark. After learning of the approaching British forces, Hancock and Adams turned to Pastor Clark and inquired of him whether the people were ready to fight. Clark unhesitatingly replied, “I have trained them for this very hour!47 When the original alarm sounded in Lexington to warn of the oncoming British menace, citizens gathered at the town green, and according to early historian Joel Headley:

There they found their pastor the [Rev. Clark] who had arrived before them. The roll was called and a hundred and fifty answered to their names . . . . The church, the pastor, and his congregation thus standing together in the dim light [awaiting the Redcoats], while the stars looked tranquilly down from the sky above them.48

The British did not appear at that first alarm, and the people returned home. At the subsequent alarm, they reassembled, and once the sound of the battle subsided, some eighteen Americans lay on Lexington Green; seven were dead – all from the Rev. Clark’s church.49 Headley therefore concluded, “The teachings of the pulpit of Lexington caused the first blow to be struck for American Independence,”50 and historian James Adams added that “the patriotic preaching of the Reverend Jonas Clark primed those guns.”51

When the British troops left Lexington, they fought at Concord Bridge and then headed back to Boston, encountering increasing American resistance on their return. Significantly, many who awaited the British along the road were local pastors (such as the Rev. Phillips Payson52 and the Rev. Benjamin Balch53) who had heard of the unprovoked British attack on the Americans, taken up their own arms, and then rallied their congregations to meet the returning British. As word of the attack spread wider, pastors from other areas also responded.

For example, when word reached Vermont, the Rev. David Avery promptly gathered twenty men and marched toward Boston, recruiting additional troops along the way,54 and the Rev. Stephen Farrar of New Hampshire led 97 of his parishioners to Boston.55 The ranks of resistance to the British swelled through the efforts of Christian ministers who “were far more effective than army recruiters in rounding up citizen-soldiers.”56

Weeks later when the Americans fought the British at Bunker Hill, American ministers again delved headlong into the fray. For example, when the Rev. David Grosvenor heard that the battle had commenced, he left from his pulpit – rifle in hand – and promptly marched to the scene of action,57 as did the Rev. Jonathan French.58

This pattern was common through the Revolution – as when the Rev. Thomas Reed marched to the defense of Philadelphia against British General Howe;59 the Rev. John Steele led American forces in attacking the British;60 the Rev. Isaac Lewis helped lead the resistance to the British landing at Norwalk, Connecticut;61 the Rev. Joseph Willard raised two full companies and then marched with them to battle;62 the Rev. James Latta, when many of his parishioners were drafted, joined with them as a common soldier;63 and the Rev. William Graham joined the military as a rifleman in order to encourage others in his parish to do the same64. Furthermore:

Of Rev. John Craighead it is said that “he fought and preached alternately.” Rev. Dr. Cooper was captain of a military company. Rev. John Blair Smith, president of Hampden-Sidney College, was captain of a company that rallied to support the retreating Americans after the battle of Cowpens. Rev. James Hall commanded a company that armed against Cornwallis. Rev. William Graham rallied his own neighbors to dispute the passage of Rockfish Gap with Tarleton and his British dragoons.65

Clergy Targeted by British

There are many additional examples. No wonder the British dubbed the patriotic American clergy the “Black Regiment.”66 But because of their strong leadership, ministers were often targeted by the British. As Headley confirms:

[T]here was a class of clergymen and chaplains in the Revolution whom the British, when they once laid hands on them, treated with the most barbarous severity. Dreading them for the influence they wielded and hating them for the obstinacy, courage, and enthusiasm they infused into the rebels, they violated all the usages of war among civilized nations in order to inflict punishment upon them.67

Among these was the Rev. Naphtali Daggett, President of Yale. When the British approached New Haven to enter private homes and desecrate property and belongings, Daggett offered stiff and at times almost single-handed resistance to the British invasion, standing alone on a hillside, repeatedly firing his rifle down at the hundreds of British troops below. Eventually captured, over a period of several hours the British stabbed and pricked Daggett multiple times with their bayonets. Local townspeople lobbied the British and eventually secured the release of the preacher, but Daggett never recovered from those wounds, which eventually caused his death.68 When the Rev. James Caldwell offered similar resistance in New Jersey, the British burned his church and he and his family were murdered.69

The British abused, killed, or imprisoned many other clergymen,70 who often suffered harsher treatment and more severe penalties than did ordinary imprisoned soldiers.71 But the British targeted not just ministers but also their churches. As a result, of the nineteen church buildings in New York City, ten were destroyed by the British,72 and most of the churches in Virginia suffered the same fate.73 This pattern was repeated throughout many other parts of the country.

John Wise

Truly, Christian ministers provided courageous leadership throughout the Revolution, and as briefly noted earlier, they had also been largely responsible for laying its intellectual foundation. To understand more of their influence, consider the Rev. John Wise.

As early as 1687, the Rev. Wise was already teaching that “taxation without representation is tyranny,”74 the “consent of the governed” was the foundation of government,75 and that “every man must be acknowledged equal to every man.”76 In 1772 with the Revolution on the horizon, two of Wise’s works were reprinted by leading patriots and the Sons of Liberty to refresh America’s understanding of the core Biblical principles of government.77 (The first printing sold so fast that a quick second reprint was quickly issued.78) Significantly, many of the specific points made by Wise in that work subsequently appeared four years later in the very language of the Declaration of Independence. As historian Benjamin Morris affirmed in 1864:

[S]ome of the most glittering sentences in the immortal Declaration of Independence are almost literal quotations from this [1772 reprinted] essay of John Wise. . . . It was used as a political text-book in the great struggle for freedom.79

And decades later when President Calvin Coolidge delivered a 1926 speech in Philadelphia on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he similarly acknowledged:

The thoughts [in the Declaration] can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was writing in 1710.80

It was Christian ministers such as John Wise (and scores like him) who, through their writings and countless sermons (such as their Election Sermons and other sermons on the Biblical principles of government) laid the intellectual basis for American Independence.

Clergy Involvement in Politics

Christian clergy largely defined America’s unique political theory and even defended it in military combat, but they were also leaders in the national legislative councils in order to help implement what they had conceived and birthed. For example, the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon was a member of the Continental Congress who served during the Revolution on the Board of War as well as on over 100 congressional committees.81 Other ministers who served in the Continental Congress included the Revs. Joseph Montgomery, Hugh Williamson, John Zubly, and more.

Numerous ministers also served in state legislatures – such as the Rev. Jacob Green of New Jersey, who helped set aside the British government in that state and was made chairman of the committee that drafted the state’s original constitution in 1776;82 the Rev. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, who helped draft Pennsylvania’s 1776 constitution;83 the Rev. Samuel Stillman, who helped draft Massachusetts’ 1780 constitution;84 etc.

When hostilities ceased at the end of the Revolution, Christian ministers led in the movement for a federal constitution. For example, the Revs. Jeremy Belknap, Samuel Stanhope Smith, John Witherspoon, and James Manning began pointing out the defects of the Articles of Confederation,85 and when the Constitution was finally complete and submitted to the states for ratification, nearly four dozen clergymen were elected as ratifying delegates,86 many of whom played key roles in securing its adoption in their respective states.

Following the adoption of the new federal Constitution, ministers were highly active in celebrating its ratification. For example, of the parade in Philadelphia, signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush happily reported:

The clergy formed a very agreeable part of the procession. They manifested by their attendance their sense of the connection between religion and good government. They. . . . marched arm in arm with each other to exemplify the Union.87

When the first federal Congress under the new Constitution convened, several ministers were Members, including the Revs. Frederick Augustus and John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, Abiel Foster, Benjamin Contee, Abraham Baldwin, and Paine Wingate.

Lasting Influence of American Ministers

Ministers were intimately involved in every aspect of introducing, defining, and securing America’s civil and religious liberties. A 1789 Washington, D. C., newspaper therefore proudly reported:

[O]ur truly patriotic clergy boldly and zealously stepped forth and bravely stood our distinguished sentinels to watch and warn us against approaching danger; they wisely saw that our religious and civil liberties were inseparably connected and therefore warmly excited and animated the people resolutely to oppose and repel every hostile invader. . . . [M]ay the virtue, zeal and patriotism of our clergy be ever particularly remembered.88

Incidentally, besides their contributions to government and civil and religious liberty, the Black Robed Regiment was also largely responsible for education in America. Ministers, understanding that only a literate people well versed in the teachings of the Bible could sustain free and enlightened government, therefore established an education system that would teach and preserve the religious principles so indispensable to the civil and religious liberties they forcefully advocated.

Consequently, in 1635 the Puritans established America’s first public school,89 and in 1647 passed America’ first public education law (“The Old Deluder Satan Act”90). And Harvard University was founded through the direction of Puritan minister John Harvard;91 Yale was founded by ten congregational ministers;92 Princeton by Presbyterian ministers Jonathan Dickinson, John Pierson, and Ebenezer Pemberton;93 William and Mary by Episcopal minister James Blair;94 Dartmouth by Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock;95 etc.

This trend of Gospel ministers founding and leading American educational institutions continued for the next two-and-a-half centuries, and by 1860, ninety-one percent of all college presidents were ministers of the Gospel – as were more than a third of all university faculty members.96 Of the 246 colleges founded by the close of that year, only seventeen were not affiliated with some denomination;97 and by 1884, eighty-three percent of America’s 370 colleges still remained denominational colleges.98 As Founding Father Noah Webster (the “Schoolmaster to America”) affirmed, “to them [the clergy] is popular education in this country more indebted than to any other class of men.”99

Conclusion

In short, history demonstrates that America’s elective governments, her educational system, and many other positive aspects of American life and culture were the product of Biblical-thinking Christian clergy and leaders. Today, however, as the influence of the clergy has waned, many of these institutions have come under unprecedented attack and many of our traditional freedoms have been significantly eroded. It is time for America’s clergy to understand and reclaim the important position of influence they have been given. As the Rev. Charles Finney – a leader of the Second Great Awakening – reminded ministers in his day:

Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.100

America once again needs the type of courageous ministers described by Bishop Galloway:

Mighty men they were, of iron nerve and strong hand and unblanched cheek and heart of flame. God needed not reeds shaken by the wind, not men clothed in soft raiment [Matthew 11:7-8], but heroes of hardihood and lofty courage. . . .And such were the sons of the mighty who responded to the Divine call.101

It is time to reinvigorate the Black Robed Regiment!


Endnotes

1 Boston Gazette, December 7, 1772, article by “Israelite,” and Boston Weekly Newsletter, January 11, 1776, article by Peter Oliver, British official. See also Peter Oliver, Peter Oliver’s Origin & Progress of the American Rebellion, eds. Douglas Adair and John A. Schutz (San Marino California: The Huntington Library, 1961), 29, 41-45; Carl Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), 334; Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1958), 98, 155.

2 Alpheus Packard, “Nationality,” Bibliotheca Sacra and American Biblical Repository (London: Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1856), XIII:193, Article VI. See also Benjamin Franklin Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), 334-335.

3 Baldwin, New England Clergy (1958), 170.

4 John Adams, The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), III:476, “The Earl of Clarendon to William Pym,” January 20, 1766.

5 Adams, Works, ed. Adams (1850), X:284, to Hezekiah Niles, February 13, 1818; X:271-272, to William Wirt, January 5, 1818.

6 “History of Revivals of Religion, From the Settlement of the Country to the Present Time,” The American Quarterly Register (Boston: Perkins and Marvin, 1833), 5:217; Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 334-335.

7 Alpheus Packard, “Nationality,” Bibliotheca Sacra (1856), XIII:193, Article VI; Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 334-335.

8 Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 334-335.

9 Baldwin, New England Clergy (1958), 134.

10 Clinton Rossiter, Seedtime of the Republic (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1953), 328-329.

11 Charles B. Galloway, Christianity and the American Commonwealth (Nashville, TN: Publishing House Methodist Episcopal Church, 1898), 77.

12 “The First Legislative Assembly at Jamestown, Virginia,” September 4, 2022, National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/the-first-legislative-assembly.htm.

13 Galloway, Christianity (1898), 1131-114; John Fiske, Civil Government in the United States Considered with some Reference to Its Origins (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1890), 146.

14 Galloway, Christianity (1898), 114.

15 Old South Leaflets (Boston: Directors of the Old South Work), 372, “Words of John Robinson (1620)”; “John Robinson’s Farewell Letter to the Pilgrims, July 1620,” Pilgrim Hall Museum, https://pilgrimhall.org/pdf/John_Robinson_Farewell_Letter_to_Pilgrims.pdf.

16 “Plymouth Colony Legal Structure,”1998, Plymouth Colony Archive Project, http://www.histarch.illinois.edu/plymouth/ccflaw.html; Robert Baird, Religion in America (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1845), 51.

17 “Plymouth Colony Legal Structure,”1998, Plymouth Colony Archive Project, http://www.histarch.illinois.edu/plymouth/ccflaw.html.

18 Henry William Elson, History of the United States of America (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1904), Ch. IV, 103-111.

19 “Plymouth Colony Legal Structure,”1998, Plymouth Colony Archive Project, http://www.histarch.illinois.edu/plymouth/ccflaw.html.

20 George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1858), I:416-417; Galloway, Christianity (1898), 124-125; Old South Leaflets, 261-280, “The Body of Liberties: The Liberties of the Massachusetts Colonie in New England, 1641.”

21 “Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” July 15, 1663, The Avalon Project, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/ri04.asp.

22 Baldwin, New England Clergy (1958), 27, quoting Roger Williams’ The Bloody Tenet, 137, quoted by Isaac Backus, Church History of New England, I. 62 of 1839.

23 “Timeline: Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut,” Connecticut History Online, May 26, 2021, https://connecticuthistory.org/timeline-settlement-of-the-colony-of-connecticut/.

24 The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws, ed. Francis Newton Thorpe (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909), 1:534, “Charter of Connecticut-1662.”

25 Rossiter, Seedtime (1953), 171.

26 John Fiske, The Beginnings of New England (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1898), 127-128.

27 Rossiter, Seedtime (1953), 32.; J. M. Mathews, The Bible and Civil Government, in a Course of Lectures (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 67-68.

28 “Province of West New Jersey in America,” November 25, 1681, Art. I, The Avalon Project, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/nj08.asp; “The Fundamental Constitutions for the Province of East New Jersey in America, Anno Domini 1683,” Art. II-III, The Avalon Project, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/nj10.asp.

29 Ernest Sutherland Bates, American Faith (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1940), 186-187.

30 Bates, American Faith (1940), 186-187.

31 “Charter for the Province of Pennsylvannia-1681,” The Avalon Project, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/pa01.asp.

32 Noah Webster, Letters of Noah Webster, ed. Harry R. Warfel (New York: Library Publishers, 1953), 455, to David McClure, October 25, 1836.

33 Daniel Webster, Address Delivered at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1843, on the Completion of the Monument (Boston: T. R. Marvin, 1843), 31.

34 Fiske, Beginnings of New England (1898),  267-272.

35 John Wise, A Vindication of the Government of New- England Churches (Boston: John Boyles, 1772), 45.

36 J. M. Mackaye, “The Founder of American Democracy,” The New England Magazine (September 1903), XXIX:1:73-83.

37 John Fiske, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1901), II:57 & I:306, 311.

38 Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930), s.v. “Samuel Cooper.”

39 Baldwin, New England Clergy (1958), 90; Stephen Mansfield, Forgotten Founding Father: The Heroic Legacy of George Whitefield (Cumberland House, 2001), 112.

40 Mansfield, Forgotten Founding Father (2001), 112.

41 Baldwin, New England Clergy (1958), 30.

42 Claude H. Van Tyne, The Causes of the War of Independence (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922), 362.

43 John Wingate Thornton, Pulpit of the American Revolution (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1860), 147-148; Van Tyne, Causes of the War of Independence (1922),  362.

44 Bancroft, History of the United States (1858), V:193.

45 Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 367-368.

46 Benjamin Lossing, Pictorial Fieldbook of the Revolution (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851), I:440.

47 Franklin Cole, They Preached Liberty (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1941), 34.

48 J. T. Headley, The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution (New York: Charles Scribner, 1864), 79.

49 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 79-82

50 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 82.

51 James L. Adams, Yankee Doodle Went to Church: The Righteous Revolution of 1776 (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1989), 22.

52 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

53 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

54 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

55 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

56 Adams, Yankee Doodle (1989), 153.

57 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

58 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

59 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 68.

60 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 69; Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, s.v. “John Steele.”

61 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 71-72.

62 Cole, They Preached Liberty (1941), 36.

63 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 72.

64 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 69.

65 Daniel Dorchester, Christianity in the United States from the First Settlement Down to the Present Time (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1888), 265.

66 Boston Gazette, December 7, 1772, article by “Israelite,” and Boston Weekly Newsletter, January 11, 1776, article by Peter Oliver, British official. See also Oliver, Peter Oliver’s Origin & Progress, eds. Adair and Schutz (1961), 29, 41-45; Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre (1962), 334; Baldwin, New England Clergy (1958), 98, 155.

67 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 58.

68 William Buell Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit: Trinitarian Congregation (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1857), 482.

69 Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 350.

70 Dorchester, Christianity in the United States (1888), 265.

71 Headley, Chaplains and Clergy (1864), 58.

72 Dorchester, Christianity in the United States (1888), 266.

73 Dorchester, Christianity in the United States (1888), 267.

74 Linda Stewart, “The Other Cape,” April 2001, American Heritagehttps://www.americanheritage.com/other-cape.

75 Rossiter, Seedtime (1953), 219.

76 J. M. Mackaye, “The Founder of American Democracy,” The New England Magazine (September 1903), XXIX:1:73-83.

77 J. M. Mackaye, “The Founder of American Democracy,” The New England Magazine (September 1903), XXIX:1:73-83.

78 Van Tyne, Causes of the War of Independence (1922), I:357.

79 Wise, Vindication of the Government of New England Churches: and the Churches’ Quarrel Espoused (Boston: Congregational Board of Publication, 1860), xx-xxi, “Introductory Remarks” by Rev. J. S. Clark; Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 341

80 Calvin Coolidge, “Speech on the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence,” July 5, 1926, The American Presidency Project, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/267359.

81 Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730-1805, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis, Liberty Fund: 1998), 1:530, from Sermons 17 on John Witherspoon intro.

82 Morris, Christian Life and Character (1864), 366.

83 William Warren Sweet, The Story of Religion in America (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1950), 182.

84 Frank Moore, Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution (Boston: Gould and Lincoln: 1860), 260.

85 James Hutchinson Smylie, American Clergymen and the Constitution of the United States of America (New Jersey: Princeton Theological Seminary, doctoral dissertation 1958), 127-129, 139, 143.

86 John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987), 352, n.15.

87 Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield (Princeton: American Philosophical Society, 1951), I:474, to Elias Boudinot, “Observations on the Federal Procession in Philadelphia,” July 9, 1788.

88 Gazette of the United States (Washington, D.C.: May 9, 1789), 1, quoting from “Extract from “American Essays: The Importance of the Protestant Religion Politically Considered.”

89 “BLS History,” Boston Latin School, accessed June 4, 2024, https://www.bls.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=206116&type=d.

90 The Code of 1650, Being a Compilation of the Earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut (Hartford: Silus Andrus, 1822), 90-92; Church of the Holy Trinity v. U. S., 143 U. S. 457, 467 (1892).

91 Appleton‘s Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888), s.v. “John Harvard.”

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

93 John Maclean, History of the College of New Jersey, from its Origin in 1746 to the Commencement of 1854 (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1877), I:70.

94 The History of the College of William and Mary, from its Foundation, 1660, to 1874 (Richmond, VA: J.W. Randolph & English, 1874), 95.

95 “Eleazar Wheelock,” Dartmouth, accessed June 4, 2024, https://president.dartmouth.edu/people/eleazar-wheelock.

96 Warren A. Nord, Religion & American Education (North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 84, quoting from James Tunstead Burtchaell, “The Decline and Fall of the Christian College I,” First Things, May 1991, p. 24; George Marsden, The Soul of the American University (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 11; Galloway, Christianity (1898), 198.

97 E. P. Cubberley, Public Education in the United States (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1919), 204; Luther A. Weigle, The Pageant of America: American Idealism, ed. Ralph Henry Gabriel (Yale University Press, 1928), X:315.

98 Galloway, Christianity (1898), 209-210.

99 Noah Webster, A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects (New York: Webster and Clark, 1843), 293, from his “Reply to a Letter of David McClure on the Subject of the Proper Course of Study in the Girard College, Philadelphia. New Haven, October 25, 1836.”

100 The Christian Treasury Containing Contributions from Ministers and Members of Various Evangelical Denominations (Edinburgh: Johnstone, Hunter and Co., 1877), 203.

101 Galloway, Christianity (1898), 77.

God’s People Want to Know

This 2015 survey by Dr. George Barna asked theologically conservative Christians the areas in which they felt that they needed additional teaching from the pulpit. Here are a just a few highlights:

  • Among the national sample of spiritually active Christian conservatives and moderates, only one in ten people (10%) said their church has been very involved in the election process in the last two voting cycles (2012, 2014). Four out of ten said their church was somewhat involved. The remaining one-half said their church was not involved.
  • Christian conservatives indicated they want their church to get in the game: six out of ten (58%) said they want their church to be more involved in the election process. Among the Christian conservatives, 61% want greater involvement; among the politically moderate Christians only one-quarter (23%) want heightened church engagement.
  • A majority of the survey respondents said it is “extremely important” for their pastor to preach or teach the congregation about the following issues:
      • Abortion 71%
      • Religious persecution 61%
      • Sexual identity 56%
      • Israel 54%
      • Poverty 54%
      • Cultural restoration 53%

See the complete report here.

Sermon – Solar Eclipse – 1806

Joseph Lathrop (1731-1820)

Lathrop was born in Norwich, Connecticut. After graduating from Yale, he took a teaching position at a grammar school in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he also began studying theology. Two years after leaving Yale, he was ordained as the pastor of the Congregational Church in West Springfield, Massachusetts. He remained there until his death in 1820, in the 65th year of his ministry. During his career, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity from both Yale and Harvard. He was even offered the Professorship of Divinity at Yale, but he declined the offer. Many of his sermons were published in a seven-volume set over the course of twenty-five years.

In this sermon, Rev. Lathrop uses the occasion of a recent solar eclipse to strengthen the Biblical worldview of his parishioners by providing both a scientific explanation and gleaning spiritual truths from the phenomenon. Lathrop’s sermon is a clear example of how early American pastors used the events of their time to impart truth and develop the Christian worldview of their listeners.


A
SERMON
CONTAINING
REFLECTIONS ON THE SOLAR ECLIPSE
WHICH APPEARED ON JUNE 16, 1806
DELIVERED
ON THE LORD’S DAY FOLLOWING.

By Joseph Lathrop, D. D.
Pastor of the first Church in West-Springfield

AMOS 8:9
It shall come to pass in that day; saith the Lord, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.

Amos was bred an husbandman and a shepherd. From his rural employment he was called to the office of a prophet. He says, “I was not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but I was an herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. And the Lord took me, as I followed the flock, and said unto me, go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”

Many expressions in his book are taken from observations, which a shepherd would naturally make in attending to the business of his calling. In Judea the shepherds watched their flocks, not by day only, but also by night, to guard them against beasts of prey, in which that country abounded. And, in their attendance on their flocks, they would naturally observe the motions of the planets, and the appearances in the heavens, that they might foresee changes of weather and approaching storms. Hence the prophet, calling on the degenerate tribes of Israel
to renounce their false gods, and to worship the great author and governor of nature, uses a language suggested by his former pastoral occupation. “Seek not Bethel, enter not into Gilgal, nor pass to Beersheba,” the idolatrous places, where the sun and moon, and hosts of heaven were worshipped; “but seek him, who maketh the seven stars and Orion; and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night.”

The stated course of nature, the order of the heavenly bodies, the vicissitude of day and night, and the regular succession of seasons, demonstrate the existence and providence, the wisdom, power and goodness of God. “Day unto day uttereth speech; night unto night sheweth forth knowledge.” “God hath not left himself without witness, in that he giveth rain and fruitful seasons, and filleth our hearts with food and gladness.” But common appearances, as they become more familiar, are less impressive. Unusual phenomena, though no less the effects of natural causes, more powerfully arrest the attention, and more deeply affect the mind. The prophet, therefore, predicting some dire calamities on the house of Israel, alludes to an unusual and solemn appearance in the skies, which probably they had lately seen; a total eclipse of the sun in the midst of a clear day. “Thus saith the Lord, I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.” The phenomenon which we beheld, on Monday last, will naturally lead us to understand the words as poetic descriptions of a solar eclipse.

Archbishop Usher, in his annals of the world, says, that in Amos’s time, there were two remarkable eclipses of the sun, which happened at solemn festivals, and struck the people with great consternation. In ancient times, when astronomy was but imperfectly understood, eclipses were by many considered, as preternatural and portentous. The prophet, therefore, foretelling the judgments coming on the land of Israel, might with great propriety figure to them the changes soon to take place in their political hemisphere, by an allusion to the change, which they had seen, with terror and amazement, in the natural hemisphere. “God would cause their sun to go down at noon, darken the earth in the clear day, turn their feasts into mourning, and their songs into lamentation, and bring up sackcloth on all loins.”

The use, which the prophet makes of a solar eclipse will justify us in some moral and religious reflections on the singular scene, which was exhibited in the past week.

1. We have reason to rejoice in the progress, which has been made in the sciences, and particularly in the noble science of astronomy. By this we are freed from many superstitious terrors, which, in the dark ages of the world, tormented mankind.

Eclipses have been observed from the remotest antiquity; and of these which were most remarkable, accounts have been transmitted to us by some of the earliest historians, who have also related the disastrous events which followed, and which the eclipses were supposed to portend.

The cause of eclipses must have been known long before they could be the subjects of mathematical calculation. It was well understood, many ages ago, that an eclipse of the moon was caused by its passing through the shadow of the earth, when the earth was between that and the sun; and that an eclipse of the sun was caused by the moon’s passing between us and the sun, and intercepting its light. This knowledge, however, was not common to the vulgar; nor did the more learned view these causes as operating by regular and stated laws.

There were predictions of some eclipses, which appeared several centuries before the birth of our Savior. But these predictions were probably, like the present predictions of comets, conjectures grounded on a course of observations, and not the result of exact calculations.

The relations, distances and motions of the heavenly bodies are now so well ascertained, that accurate calculations can be made of all the eclipses, which shall be in ages to come, and of those which have been, since our system was framed. These calculations are of great utility to mankind, in husbandry, navigation, geography, chronology and history. The credit of some ancient histories derives confirmation from this source. The historian relates some great events, which he supposes, were portended by a certain eclipse, which he describes. The astronomer finds, that there was in fact, such an eclipse, at such a time, and hence justly gives more full credit to the historian.

These phenomena have also their moral uses. They enlarge our views of the works of God, and of the grandeur and extent of his creation and providence. They display his wisdom, power and goodness, and his continual agency in the government of the world. They teach us his constant care for the creatures, which he has made, and call us to reverence and adore him, who thus manifests himself to us in the works of his hands.

We see innumerable worlds rolling around us at vast but various distances; with different, but inconceivable rapidity. These all perform their motions with regularity, and observe their times with exactness. They obey their destination, they keep their order, they never interfere. Shall we not fear the power, admire the wisdom, adore the goodness of that being, who made and adjusted, who sustains and directs such a stupendous system, and render it subservient to our happiness? These rational sentiments are pleasant and delightful in themselves; and are far more conducive to piety and virtue, than the terrors of that superstitious ignorance, which views every comet flaming in the sky, every obscuration of the sun at noonday, every failure of the full orbed moon at night, every unusual noise bursting from the clouds, every strange appearance in the heavens and in the earth, as awfully portentous of some dire, but unknown calamity.

Superstitious terrors may operate as a temporary restraint from vice. But when the dreaded calamity is delayed, the restraint ceases, and vice regains its dominion. A rational fear of God, arising from a calm contemplation of his agency and government, displayed in his works, and taught in his word, will have a steady and permanent influence. “Fear ye not me, saith the Lord, will ye not tremble at my presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, who give the former and the latter rain, and reserve to you the appointed weeks of harvest?” The more just are our thoughts of God’s government, and the more rational our reverence of his majesty, the more uniform and cheerful will be our obedience to his will.

2. An eclipse of the sun, though it is not an omen of any particular calamity, yet may properly lead us to contemplate the gloomy changes which await us in this guilty and mortal state.

By a total obscuration of his glorious luminary, at noon, in a clear day, a gloom is suddenly spread over the face of nature. Not only the human mind, but the animal and material creation is deeply affected. Night seems to anticipate the time of its return. The stars hand out their lamps; the dews descend on the earth; the grazing beasts forget their hunger; the fowls hasten to their resting places; the bird of night chants his evening ditty; every thing wears a sober and mournful aspect.

Here is an emblem of declining age and approaching death.

The time is coming – to some of us it is near; when the sun and the light will be darkened; the eyes, which look out at the windows, will be bedimmed, surrounding objects will be hidden, and “we shall go to our long home – to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” “While we have the light, let us walk in the light, lest darkness come upon us. Let us give glory to God, before he cause darkness, and before our feet stumble on the dark mountains; lest, while we look for light, it be turned into the shadow of death.” The eyes of our understanding still remain unextinguished, and the sun of righteousness shines upon us with salvation in his beams. Let us attend to the glorious discoveries which are made to us, and apply ourselves to the momentous work before us. Let us work while it is day. The time is short – night is at hand. What we find to do, let us do it with our might. There is no work in the grave.

Some of you are in youth and in full strength. My friends, your morning sun shines bright and pleasant; you think your day will be long. But, oh! flatter not yourselves. Your sun may go down at noon, and your prospect be darkened in a clear day. Employ these morning hours in the work of your salvation. You know not what a day, or an hour may bring forth.

The darkness of an eclipse the prophet improves, though not as an omen, yet as an emblem of national judgments. He warns his people that a metaphorical and political darkness may overspread their country, in the same surprising manner, as literal darkness in a solar eclipse falls on the unsuspecting earth. “Thus saith the Lord unto me, an end is come upon my people; I will not pass by them any more. Hear this, ye that swallow up the needy, and that say, when will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn, and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat? The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, surely I will not forget any of their works. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? Thus saith the Lord, I will darken the earth in the clear day. I will turn their feasts into mourning, and their songs into lamentation.”

Sudden darkness caused by eclipses, clouds, vapor and storms, is, in the prophetic writings, a common figure for great and unexpected plagues; such as war, discord, pestilence and famine. The prophet Isaiah, describing the calamitous state of the Jews, on the invasion of the Chaldeans, says, “They shall look to the earth, and behold, trouble and darkness, and dimness of anguish; they shall be driven into darkness.” In the same figurative language, Joel describes the devastation and famine caused in the land by clouds of devouring locusts, and by the rage of subsequent fires. “Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh and is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess, of clouds and thick darkness. There shall be wonders in the heavens and in the earth; there shall be pillars of smoke, and the sun shall be turned into darkness.”

When we see the sun darkened in the heavens, and the earth covered with a gloom, we are reminded, how easy it is for Him, who in a moment extinguishes the sun, to cast a cloud over our earthly prospects; to turn our joys into anguish, our confidence into terror, and our songs into lamentation – to subvert our national security, to let loose the infernal spirit of discord, to remove restraint from hostile nations, to send a blast on the labors of our hands, and to spread among us pestilence and death.

On God we are dependent not only for the daily visits of the sun, but also for his friendly beams, when he returns. The moon, which chases away the gloom of night, now and then steps in, and intercepts the light of day. If it should
make a stand in that position, our day would become night, and the warmth of summer would be changed into the frost of winter. But the moon obeys the divine command, moves the cheering beams, which it had, for a few moments withholden.

The creatures, which are our ordinary comforts, may by God’s direction or permission, become the occasions of affliction and anguish. The sun, which enlivens the rational, animal and vegetable world, may dart malignant fires and scatter pestilential
diseases. The rains, which refresh and fructify our fields, may “wash away the things which grow out of the earth, and destroy the hope of man.” The friends in whom we confide may become our tormentors, and “a man’s foes may be those of his own household.” Government, which is our defense against injustice, fraud and violence, falling into the hands of cruel and unprincipled men, may be made an instrument of oppression and misery. “They who lead us may cause us to err, and destroy the way of our paths.”

Where then is our security? It is in the protection of Him, who created and upholds the frame of nature, “who made and guides the seven stars and Orion, turns the shadow of death into the mourning, or makes the day dark with night” – “who calleth to the waters and sends them on the earth, and restrains the floods” within the bounds prescribed – “who rules the raging of the sea, and stills the tumults of the people” – ” who turns the hearts of men, as the rivers of water are turned” – “who causes the wrath of men to praise him, and the remainder of that wrath he restrains.” How shall we enjoy his protection ? He has told us, “If ye will walk in my statutes, keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary, then I will give you rain in due season, your fields shall yield their increase; I will give peace in your land, and ye shall lie down and none shall make you afraid.” – “But if ye will walk contrary unto me, I will walk contrary unto you, and make your plagues wonderful.”

Learned astronomers can calculate with exactness the times when, the places where, and the quantities in which the luminaries of heaven will be eclipsed; but they cannot with the same accuracy predict the judgments of God. Nor do we here need their astronomical skill. There are other signs by which we may discern impending judgments. Our Savior. has taught us a kind of moral astronomy to direct our prescience of such events. The prevalence of infidelity, immorality and vice as surely indicates approaching calamities, as clouds indicate a shower, winds forebode a storm, or the conjunction, or opposition of the sun and moon, in certain places in the heaves, presignify an eclipse. He said to the people, “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straitway, ye say, there cometh a shower; and so it is. When ye perceive the south wind blow, ye say, there will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it, that ye cannot discern this time? Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” The blindness and stupidity of the ancient Jews to the impending judgments of God, the prophet upbraids by referring them to the sagacity and discernment apparent in the fowls of heaven. “The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed time; the turtle, the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people knoweth not the judgments of God.”

There are now, as there were in former times, many who ask, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” And the watchman’s answer then, is seasonable now, “If ye will inquire, inquire ye” wisely; “return, come,” return to God by repentance; then come and inquire, and you may hope for a favorable answer.

It is common for people to look forward and inquire, what will be our national state in future years – what will be the result of certain public measures – what shall be done to obtain this favorite object, and avert that threatening evil, and to make future times better than these? But they inquire not wisely concerning this matter. Let them inquire what iniquities abound, and what share their own iniquities have in the common guilt? Let each one repent of his own wickedness, and apply himself to his own duty. Let each one use his best influence to correct the errors, and reform the manners of those with whom he is connected. Then things will go well. “Righteousness will exalt a nation. Sin will be a reproach to any people.”

3. The darkening of the earth in a clear day brings to mind the final judgment. The scripture assures us, that “God has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, and render to every man according to his works.” It teaches us, that the judgment will come on a guilty world by surprise – that “when men shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh.” The manner of its coming is compared to the catastrophe of Sodom. “As it was in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they fold, they planted, they builded. But the same day, that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone out of heaven, and destroyed them all. Even so shall it be in that day when the son of man is revealed.” To heighten the solemnity of this scene, the sacred writers tell us, “The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light; the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken – the heaven shall depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island shall be removed out of their place.” What effect the expectation of such a day should have, St. Peter instructs us. “Seeing all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the day of the Lord. Let us be diligent, that we may be found of the Lord in peace without spot and blameless.”

You think that great day to be remote. Perhaps it is so. But whether it be near or remote, it will come. And when it shall come, it will be as real and important, as if it were now present. “Count the longsuffering of God’s salvation. He is not willing that you should perish, but that you should come to repentance.”

Were you sure, that within ten or twenty years, the frame of nature, as well as the works of man, would dissolved, the heavens with all their splendors would vanish, and the earth with all her furniture and in habitants would pass away, how vain would all your property, all your designs and labors appear? What folly would be stampt on avarice, ambition, worldly grandeur and ostentation, political intrigues, party contests and animosities? But, my fellow mortals, where is the mighty difference to you and me, whether the world is to be dissolved within twenty years, or whether within that time we are to leave the world forever. The latter will certainly be the case with many of us in a shorter, and with all of us in a little longer time than this. Under an impressive sense of this solemn truth, let us banish all worldly passions, and direct our cares to the grand interests of futurity.

4. Total darkness at noonday reminds us of the solemn scene of the Savior’s crucifixion. The evangelists tell us, that when Jesus hung on the cross, “there was darkness over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour;” or, according to our calendar, from midday to the third hour; “and the sun was darkened.” The darkness continued for three hours. This, we know, could be no natural eclipse; for, in the eclipse of the week past, which appeared to be central, the total obscuration continued but about four minutes.

The darkness at the crucifixion was very extensive. It was “over all the land.” Yea, it was beyond the land of Judea; or “over all the earth,” as the words are, in one place, rendered. It was observed in countries distant from Judea; and is related by profane historians, as a phenomenon, for which no natural cause could be assigned. In a natural eclipse, the total darkness cannot be of very great extent. I have had correct information, that within the space of less than two hundred miles, from north to south, a segment of the sun appeared during the whole time of the late eclipse.

Nay, farther, at the time of the crucifixion there could be no natural eclipse, for the sun and moon were then in opposition. Christ was crucified at the time of the Passover. The Passover was to begin on the fourteenth day of the month. The Jewish month began at the first appearance of the new moon. On the fourteenth day, the moon, being full, and in opposition to the sun, could not cause an eclipse. The obscuration therefore must have been preternatural and miraculous.

That there really was such an obscuration is indubitable. It is recorded by three of the evangelists, who published their narrative so soon after the crucifixion, that many spectators of the scene, both friends and enemies to Christ, were still living. They would not have asserted such a strange phenomenon, as being universally known, in that and neighboring countries, and as having happened on a certain day, if it had not been a fact; for every man, woman and youth, living at that time, would have been able to contradict it. Had the evangelists been impostors, they would not have published a falsehood of this kind; for nothing could have been more fatal to their cause. There is no room to question the reality of the fact.

This darkness, the earthquake, and the rending of the veil of the temple, which occurred at the same time, had a great effect on the spectators. The commanding officer, who stood by the cross of Jesus, struck with astonishment, said, “Surely this was the son of God.” “And all the people, who came together to that sight, beholding what was done, smote their breasts, and returned.”

These miraculous appearances in the earth and in the heavens, at the time, when Jesus was suffering on the cross, were such divined attestations in his favor, as reason could not resist; and they were also most awful indications of the wrath of God against the horrid and impious work, which the infidel Jews were then transacting.

But were these the only persons against whom the darkness denounced the anger of heaven? No; it equally manifested, and still it manifests the amazing guilt of all unbelievers under the gospel – of all who are enemies to the blessed Jesus – of all who despise and oppose his religion.

Infidelity and impiety involve in them the same guilt now as in former times. The gospel comes to us with equal evidence and authority, as it came to the Jews. They who reject it, crucify afresh its heavenly author, and are bringing on themselves swift destruction – to such is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. As they walk in the darkness of unbelief and wickedness, they will fall into the darkness of misery and despair. “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, he will come in flaming fire, and will take vengeance on them who know not God, and on them who obey not the gospel.”

5. The temporary darkness of an eclipse is followed with cheerful light, which “shines more and more unto the perfect day.” This is a natural emblem of that moral change, in which a soul is brought out of the darkness of sin and guilt into the marvelous light of purity, pardon and peace.

How sad and gloomy is the condition of a guilty mortal, who convinced of his numerous transgressions, feels himself condemned to eternal death. The divine law, which was delivered. From Sinai, in smoke and darkness, in clouds and tempest, thunders terror and destruction in his ears. But how happily is his state reversed, when light, beaming from mount Zion, in the discoveries and promises of the gospel, breaks in on his soul, exhibits to him a dying Savior, a forgiving God, a sanctifying spirit? What joy springs up, when he finds the power of sin subdued – his enmity to God slain – his opposition to the gospel conquered – and every thought captivated to the obedience of Christ? The light is ceding to previous darkness. So the hopes and comforts of religion in the soul are exalted by their contrast to preceding anxieties and fears.

Ye awakened, desponding souls, look up to the sun of righteousness. He shines from heaven with salvation in his beams. However guilty, unworthy and impotent ye feel, there is grace sufficient for you; there is righteousness to justify you, promises to support you, the spirit to help you. Light arises in darkness. Turn your eyes from the cloud, and direct them to the sun. Christ came a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not walk in darkness. Look to him, and be ye saved.

Finally: the obscuration of the sun in the sky bids us contemplate the uninterrupted brightness of the heavenly state. Could we rise above the moon, the sun which is eclipsed to the inhabitants of the earth, would shine to us in all its splendor. When the Christian has the moon under his feet, he will be clothed with the sun, and crowned with stars.

There is no darkness, no night in heaven: all is light; all is glory there.

In heaven there is the light of purity, and love. The pure in heart shall see God; he is light; in him is no darkness. Nothing enters into his presence that defiles.

There is the light of knowledge – glorious discoveries of God – of the Savior – of the works of providence and grace – of the wonders of creation and redemption. Here we see through a glass darkly; there we shall see face to face. Here we know in part, there we shall know as we are known.

The light of heaven is constant; it is never eclipsed nor clouded. The holy city needs not the sun to shine in it, for the glory of God doth lighten it, and Jesus is the light thereof. The nations of them who are saved shall walk in the light of it, and there shall be no night there.

How different will be the state of good men in heaven from that which they experience on earth? Here they have some light, but it is often interrupted, and always dim. How little do they know of God and his works – how much error is mixed with their faith – how much doubt with their hope – how much fear with their courage; how much carnality with their devotion? In heaven it will be otherwise. Knowledge there will be full without error, certain without perplexity and clear without confusion. Holiness will be perfect without sin, and refined without dross and corruption. And they will serve God continually without reluctance or weariness.

Let us begin the life, and accustom ourselves to the works of heaven, while we dwell on earth, that we may be prepared for admission into heaven, when we depart hence. Here God sheds down some beams of heavenly light to invite our thoughts and affections upward. The light is mingled with shades, and interrupted with clouds, because this is a state of trial, and our faith and patience must be exercised. Here we must walk by faith; we cannot walk by sight. “It is by faith and patience, that we inherit the promises.” “We are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? And if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. And the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us according to the will of God.”

It is but little, that we can at present know of heaven; but “then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” Let our souls follow hard after him; for what is there, which we can desire in comparison with him? “It doth not yet appear what we shall be. But when our Lord shall come, we trust, that we shall be like him and see him as he is. And having this hope, let us purify ourselves as he is pure.”

 

 

Protecting Private Property Through the Uniform Commercial Code

Protecting Private Property Through the Uniform Commercial Code

Questions are now being raised about important laws that have been added to state codes in all 50 states over the past 25 years. These laws were deliberately designed to abrogate private property rights and could in the future be used to harm all Americans who hold investment securities, including those held in IRA and 401(k) accounts. At the state level, the concerning statutes in question are contained within the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), primarily in Article 8, which deals with securities.

WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislative Network (PFLN), and other organizations and leaders, urge state legislators to carefully consider this alarming infringement on private property.

This letter explains our concerns, summarizes the legal aspects of UCC Article 8, and outlines near-term options for state policymakers who want to take action to protect their constituents and their states. Read the full letter for additional information.

What can you do to help?

Share this Information: We encourage you to forward this to your friends, family and state legislators to help make them aware of this critical issue in your state’s uniform commercial code.

Stay Apprised of the Issue: If this issue is important to you, sign up for our Concerned Citizens legislative update email and we will keep you apprised of this issue.

Sign the Letter: If you represent an organization, or are an elected official who would like to sign this letter, please email us for consideration.

Contribute: If you would like to support this effort to help us brief more lawmakers across the country on this matter, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to WallBuilders Pro-Family Legislative Network Fund.

Lawsuit Challenges D.C. Transit Authority for Violating the First Amendment

In December 2023, First Liberty, ACLU, and Steptoe filed a lawsuit on behalf of WallBuilders.

First Liberty Press Release

Lawsuit Challenges D.C. Transit Authorit – First Liberty

First Liberty Article

https://firstliberty.org/news/ads-about-americas-religious-history-not-allowed/ 

WallBuilders Rejected Ads




WallBuilders Article

These ads would have linked to a collection of quotes by numerous Founding Fathers via our article “The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible”: https://wallbuilders.com/resource/the-founding-fathers-on-jesus-christianity-and-the-bible/

Additional Information & Questions

We have asked our attorneys to handle all media inquiries. Please contact Jeremy Dys at 304-881-5196 or [email protected]. Thank you.

David Barton: A Dominionist and Reconstructionist?

Over the past several decades, numbers of my detractors have resorted to making extremist claims about me intended to create distrust or even fear in the minds of those who might hear me. By so doing, they hope potential listeners or readers will reject my message out of hand before even considering the evidence. One common ridiculous claim is that I am a Dominionist (someone who wants to reinstitute Old Testament law and establish a theocracy).

As a result, over the years, I have received questions like this one:

Does David adhere to or teach Dominion Theology or “Kingdom Now” theology? That is in part, that the Church of Jesus Christ will bring in God’s reign of righteousness rather than it happening through the physical return of Jesus Christ?

I disagree with Dominion and Kingdom Now theology and I am not a Dominionist.

Additionally, to establish a theocracy in America would require the abolition of our elective constitutional government. I have worked for decades to educate Americans about the history, excellence, and importance of the US Constitution. I am passionate about knowing and applying it and preserving its principles through the elective voting process. Since having elections precludes the possibility of a theocracy, and since I am such a strong promoter of citizen involvement in the election process, I definitely don’t seek a theocracy.

Furthermore, I am clearly on record about the definite limits of Old Testament law in modern culture. (As an example, see my commentary accompanying Exodus 20 in the very popular Founders’ Bible1.)

The evidence is abundant that their claims are wrong.

The allegations about me and Dominionism originated decades ago, almost exclusively from defamatory articles of atheist and anti-religious writers. Over subsequent years, many individuals doing casual web searches of my name found those earlier articles and innocently accepted their wild claims and then repeated or reposted them without any serious investigation of the truth. As a result, today scores of newer articles brand me as something I am not, and never have been.

Understanding the Original Claims

Examining the writings of those who originally made these errant claims two decades ago, it is clear that the issues the critics considered to be reflective of Dominionism were actually issues that were mainstream across the depth and breadth not only of the Christian community but of much of the nation. Notice the things they pointed to as evidence of Christian support for Dominionism.

According to Eric La Freniere, at the time a columnist for the Daily News Record, one of the most obvious indicators of those who seek a Theocracy is their belief that traditional marriage is to be between one man and one woman (what they often describe as following Old Testament law). He warned that to vote for any state constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage (which was extremely popular in the 2000s and the 2010s, with support up to 70% in some states2) was “to cast a vote for Dominionism….the righteous religious-political movement to reclaim America as a Christian nation.”3 If La Freniere was correct, the tens of millions of voters in the 31 states who passed a state marriage amendment4 (before the US Supreme Court redefined marriage in 20155) were all part of the Christian Dominionist movement.

Author and journalist Chip Berlet agreed, asserting that the “anti-democratic tendencies in the Christian Right6 concerning marriage amendments proved their Dominionist and Theocratic beliefs. By the way, notice his oxymoronic logic: having citizens publicly vote on marriage amendments placed on the public ballot through the elected legislative process was “anti-democratic.”

Chris Hedges in Harper’s Magazine linked such Dominionists to Adolf Hitler and fascism,7 asserting that conservative Christians were so dangerous that it was acceptable to confront and defeat them outside “the old polite rules of democracy8—that is, the normal rules of constitutional republicanism could be set aside in order to defeat Christians. So is it Christians or the Secular Left who is really anti-democratic?

The Southern Poverty Law Center similarly warned that “Dominionist” Christians “seek to impose Old Testament law on the United States,” and that this desire runs “all the way to the [George W.] Bush White House.”9 What indications did they have of this Dominionism? —what role did the George W. Bush White House have in imposing “Old Testament law on the United States”? They, too, pointed to the state marriage amendments, and the further fact that President Bush had openly endorsed a federal Marriage Amendment.10

A Michigan newspaper (Eastern Echo) likewise alerted voters that a candidate running for Governor was part of Dominionism—that he was “seek[ing] to legislate American life under an ultimate authority of a right-wing interpretation of the Bible.”11 What made him a Dominionist? He not only supported traditional marriage but even opposed embryonic stem cell research. Clearly, he was a religious extremist seeking to impose Old Testament law on Michigan.12

Political commentator and writer Kevin Phillips added that “Christian Reconstructionists” also describe the separation of church and state as a “myth.”13 During the time he made these claims, some 1,800 legal incidents related to “separation of church and state” had occurred.14 Christian attorneys argued that the proper application of the historic separation of church and state did not mean people of faith could not express their faith in public, and that they had the same right to express their beliefs that secular folks did. But for secularists, the “separation of church and state” requires full secularization; therefore, those Christians arguing for equal protection were pursuing a “myth” and attempting to establish a Theocracy. (In recent years the US Supreme Court has issued a series of landmark decisions constitutionally repudiating the extremist views of the secularists, and, according to these arguments, they, too, are apparently Dominionists.)

More Claims

Numerous books and other seemingly countless articles used similar extremist rhetoric in attacking the Christian leaders who supported what were typically mainstream public issues.15 National Jewish writer and columnist Stanley Kurtz reviewed many of those writings and sarcastically summarized the ridiculous claims about Christians he found in those attack pieces:

What is the real agenda of the religious far Right? I’ll tell you what it is. These nuts want to take over the federal government and suppress other religions through genocide and mass murder rather than through proselytizing. They want to reestablish slavery. They want to reduce women to near-slavery by making them property, first of their fathers, and then of their husbands. They want to execute anyone found guilty of pre-martial, extramaritial, or homosexual sex. They want to bring back the death penalty for witchcraft. But aren’t extremists like this far from political power? On the contrary, the political and religious movement called “Dominionism” has gained control of the Republican Party, and taken over Congress and the White House as well. Once they take over the judiciary, the conversion of America to a theocracy will be sealed. The Dominionists are very close to achieving their goal. Once they have the courts in their hands, a willing Dominionist Republican-controlled Congress can simply extend the death penalty to witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, and heresy. The courts will uphold all this once conservatives are in control, since [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia himself appears to be a Dominionist.16

Kurtz then singled out one of the voices making these ridiculous claims, Kathryn Yurica. He noted that she and her extremist accusations were actually mainstream among a considerable number of secularist groups:

Yurica’s article [“The Despoiling of America”] is so wild-eyed and strange that it would barely be worth mentioning were Yurica not a featured speaker at a recent conference called, “Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right.” That conference . . . was supported by the National Council of Churches, People for the American Way, The Nation, The Village Voice, and United Americans for Separation of Church and State.17

The speakers at that conference identified five congressional policies they believed provided absolute proof that America was being placed under Old Testament law by Christian Dominionists. What were those five theocratic policies?

(1) Enacting tax cuts;
(2) Funding faith-based programs;
(3) Decreasing welfare spending;
(4) Giving the Federal Communication Commission additional tools to crackdown on indecency on television; and
(5) Attempts to end judicial filibusters.18

Horrors! Once Christians begin enacting tax cuts, the next thing they’ll do is stone rebellious children and publicly pillory adulterers! Yet as Kurtz noted, most of what were labeled Dominionist views were rational positions widely embraced by a majority of the population.

Interestingly, a much later 2020 study claimed that more than half of all Americans today are Dominionists who want a Christian Nation.19 Really??? At a time when public polls show church attendance,20 Bible reading,21 and Biblical worldview22 are at record lows, more than half the nation are Christian Dominionists? This claim is just as absurd today as it has been for the past several decades. (A brilliant rebuttal of that study and its ridiculous conclusion was done by Prof. Mark David Hall in his “Tilting at Windmills: The ‘Threat’ of Christian Nationalism.”23)

Perhaps Supreme Court Attorney David French, who has handled countless federal court cases in his career, best summarized the ludicrous nature of the false call of Dominionism:

If originalist legal arguments and a call to return our country to its founding constitutional ideals constitute dominionism, which social conservatives aren’t dominionist? Is free speech a dominionist concept? What about religious liberty? How about protecting life and ensuring that it cannot be taken without due process of law? We’re all dominionists now.24

In summary, holding traditionally conservative and constitutional positions is what it meant to be a Dominionist when the term became popular some 20 years ago and when it was first applied to me. Those who used the term intended that it should scare unknowing citizens away from fearsome “Dominionist” leaders such as Justice Anthony Scalia, President George Bush, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, or me, all of whom publicly supported traditional marriage, opposed abortion and embryonic stem cell research, and thought voluntary prayer was appropriate in schools. This is how I came to be labeled a “Dominionist.”

David Barton


Endnotes

1 The Founders Bible (Newbury Park, CA: Shiloh Road, 2017), Exodus 20.
2 See, for example, ballot measures passed with 70% or greater approval in 2004 for Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma (“Ballot Measures,” 2004, CNN); in 2006 for South Carolina and Tennessee (“Ballot Measures,” 2006, CNN); and numerous other ballot measures throughout the early 2000s for states with a pass rating of over 50% but lower than 70% (“Ballot Measures, 2008, CNN; “Approved Amendments,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 14, 2022).
3 Eric La Freniers, “You Can Vote For Dominionism,” Daily News-Record, October 31, 2006.
4 See, for example, constitutional amendments passed in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin: “Approved Amendments,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 14, 2022.
5 Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015).
6 Chip Berlet, “The Christian Right & Theocracy,” Political Research Associates, accessed on March 14, 2022.
7 Chris Hedges, “Soldiers of Christ,” Harpers Magazine, May 5, 2005; Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
8 Chris Hedges, “Soldiers of Christ,” Harpers Magazine, May 5, 2005; Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
9 Mark Potok, “Democracy vs. Theocracy,” Southern Poverty Law Center, October 19, 2006.
10 George W. Bush, “Remarks on the Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage,” The White House, February 24, 2004.
11 Staff Edit / In Our Opinion, “Governor campaign fails to address issues,” Eastern Echo, October 30, 2006.
12 “Motors and Voters: Michigan’s Gubernatorial Race,” Wall Street Journal, 2006.
13 Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (Viking, 2006), 233.
14 See the publication Undeniable by First Liberty, available at https://firstliberty.org/undeniable/.
15 See, for example, Tony Kiddie, Republican Jesus: How the Right Had Rewritten the Gospels (University of California Press, 2021); James C. Sanford, Blueprint for Theocracy: The Christian Right’s Vision for America (Metacomet Books, 2014); Michael L. Weinstein and Davin Seay, With God On Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013); Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation: A Challenge to the Faith of America (Transworld, 2011); Clyde Wilcox, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics (New York: Routledge, 2011); Michael Lerner, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right (Harper San Francisco, 2006); Damon Linker, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (Doubleday, 2009); Robin Rex Meyers, Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006); Phillips, American Theocracy (2006); Jim Wallis, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (HarperCollins, 2006); Bill Press, How the Republicans Stole Christmas: the Republican Party’s Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take it Back (Crown Publishing Group, 2005); Clint Willis, Jesus is Not a Republican: the Religious Right’s War on America (De Capo Press, 2005); Philip Gold, Take Back the Right : How the Neocons and the Religious Right have Betrayed the Conservative Movement (Basic Books, 2004); Jan G. Linn, What’s Wrong with the Christian Right (Florida: Brown Walker Press, 2004); Douglas Anthony Long, Fundamentalists and Extremists (2002); Rob Boston, Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (New York: Prometheus Books, 2000); Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy (University of Michigan, 1997); William Curtis Martin, With God on Our Side: the Rise of the Religious Right in America (Broadway Books, 1996); Bruce Barron, Heaven on Earth? The Social & Political Agendas of Dominion Theology (Zondervan, 1992); Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right (New York: Black Rose Books, 1989); and numerous others.
16 Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
17 Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
18 Jon Ward, “Left aims to smite ‘theocracy’ movement,” The Washington Times, May 1, 2005.
19 Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry, Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 25.
20 Jeffery M. Jones, “U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Times,” Gallup, March 29, 2021.
21 Alec Gallup & Wendy W. Simmons, “Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally: Percentage of frequent readers has decreased over last decade,” Gallup, October 20, 2000.
22 George Barna, “Perceptions about Biblical Worldview and Its Application,” Center for Biblical Worldview, May 2021, 6.
23 Mark David Hall, “Tilting at Windmills: The “Threat” of Christian Nationalism,” Standing for Freedom, February 8, 2022.
24 David French, “I’m a Dominionist? I Had No Idea,” National Review, September 1, 2011.

Uniform Commercial Code

WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislative Network was recently alerted by legislators in multiple states to a very troubling section introduced into the newly proposed Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) now working its way through 22+ states this legislative session and likely to be introduced in all 50 states.

The UCC (first released in 1952) generally helps standardize existing commercial and business transactions across the nation. It traditionally smooths out what is already in practice, but in the new version of the UCC, the Commission has gone on the offensive in one particular area, introducing new untested practices for where the government apparently intends businesses should go in the future.

The troubling change relates to the definition of money and what constitutes electronic currency. Currently, electronic currency does not exist. The disturbing portion of the new Code anticipates a new digital currency, one can only assume it is referencing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) now under development by the Federal Reserve. The push for a CBDC comes from President Biden’s Executive Order 14067 issued in March of 2022. Members of Congress are concerned over the role and function of a CBDC, for there are far too many unknowns about how electronic money will look and act.

The Uniform Commercial Code has traditionally been viewed by most legislatures as something perfunctory, so it typically receives little scrutiny. As a result, the new version containing the troubling provisions on digital currency has been introduced in two dozen states and has already passed the legislature chamber in states such as North Dakota, Colorado, Hawaii and South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem took bold leadership to do what was in the best interest of the citizens of her state and she vetoed the bill in South Dakota due to many of the reasons outlined in the letter below. You can read her veto here.

We encourage you to contact your state legislators and share this coalition letter with them. (You can also download the PDF version here.) Urge them not to pass your state’s Uniform Commercial Code and your governor not to sign this legislation into law if it makes it to his or her desk.

If you are an organization that would like to be included on this coalition letter, please contact us at the Pro-Family Legislative Network for consideration.




FAQ: Founders & Slavery

The issue of slavery in America’s Founding Era was complex. Initially, many people saw slavery as a normal part of life; this perspective is acknowledged by Chief Justice John Jay, who stated that, before the War for Independence, very few “doubted the propriety and rectitude of it.”1

However, the changing attitude towards slavery was evident even before the War for Independence when several colonies passed anti-slavery laws.2 (Each of these were overturned by King George III.3) Notably, a section of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson criticized the king for maintaining slavery and the slave trade.4

After the Declaration of Independence, states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey abolished slavery.5 Additionally, Virginia, in 1778, outlawed the further importation of slaves.6

Among the Founders themselves, some slave-owners, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, openly spoke against slavery.7 Conversely, others were demonstrably pro-slavery.8 There were also Founders involved in abolition movements. For example, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush helped establish the first abolition society in 1774.9 Furthermore, John Jay served as president of the New York abolition society.10

Again, this was a complicated issue for Americans during the Founding Era, but the actions of many demonstrate that this reprehensible practice had much opposition among the Founders. For more information on this topic, please see these additional resources.


Endnotes

1 John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891), 3:342, to the English Anti-Slavery Society, June 1788.

2 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade (Columbus: J. & H. Miller, 1858), 386; George M. Stroud, A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America (Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827), 137; Thomas F. Gordon, The History of Pennsylvania from its Discovery by Europeans to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1829), 554-555.

3 Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Jared Sparks (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1839), 8:42, to Dean Woodward on April 10, 1773; Benson J. Lossing, Harpers’ Popular Cyclopaedia of United States History (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1892), 1299.

4 Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert Ellery Bergh (Washington DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), 1:34, from Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence. This section was removed on the objection of two states: Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, ed. Thomas Jefferson Randolph (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1829), 1:16, from his Autobiography.

5 A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes and Sons, 1780), 7; An Abridgement of the Laws of Pennsylvania, ed. Collinson Read, (Philadelphia: 1801), 264-266; The Public Statute Laws of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1808), Book I, 623-625; Rhode Island Session Laws (Providence: Wheeler, 1784), 7-8; The Constitutions of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), 50, New Hampshire, 1792; The Federal and State Constitutions Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming The United States of America, ed. Francis Newton Thorpe (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1909), 6:3762, Vermont, 1793; Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Twenty-Second Session, Second Meeting of the Legislature (Albany: Loring Andrew, 1798), 721-723; Laws of the State of New Jersey Compiled and Published Under the Authority of the Legislature, ed. Joseph Bloomfield (Trenton: James J. Wilson, 1811), 103-105.

6 The Statues at Large; Being A Collection of all the Laws of Virginia From the First Session of the Legislature in the Year 1619, ed. William Waller Henning (Richmond: J & G Cochran, 1821), IX:471-472, “An act for preventing the farther importation of Slaves,” October, 1778.

7 Paul Leland Haworth, George Washington: Farmer (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1915), 192; Mary V. Thompson, “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret,” Mount Vernon, 1999; The Works of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul Leicester Ford (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), 11:417, to Edward Coles on August 25, 1814; Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H.A. Washington (New York: Riker, Thorne, & Co., 1855), 6:378, to Thomas Cooper on September 10, 1814; Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1794), 236-238, “Query XVIII.”

8 See, for example, Jeffrey Crow, “Liberty to Slaves: The Black Response,” Anchor, accessed August 23, 2023; James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1903), 4:267-268, “Journal of the Constitutional Convention,” August 22, 1787; The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, ed. Joseph Gales (Washington DC: Gales and Seaton, 1834), 1:1242-1243, February 12, 1790.

9 Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Begun in the Year 1774, and Enlarged on the 23rd of April, 1787 (Philadelphia: Joseph James, 1787), 8.

10 “Race and Antebellum New York City: The New York Manumission Society,” New York Historical Society, accessed August 23, 2023; The Works of Samuel Hopkins (Boston: Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, 1854), 2:548, Advertisement page for “A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans.”