The black-robed brigade or regiment was made up of clergy who lived during the colonial era and who were very instrumental in helping America win its independence. They were given that name because most wore black clerical robes to officiate their Sunday church services. They were influential because they were not only unashamed when preaching the Word of God but also unabashed when speaking about every aspect of culture, which included their thoughts on morality, faith, war, who to vote for and a host of other topics that would be considered politically incorrect today. They carried a Bible in one hand and often a gun in the other.
The PBS show “History Detectives: Special Investigations” explained how “the Revolution became something of a religious crusade. Jonathan Mayhew, the pastor of the West Church in Boston, gave moral sanction to the war by preaching that opposition to a tyrant, in this case the British occupiers, was a ‘glorious’ Christian duty.
“Some ministers became military chaplains. One such Presbyterian minister, James Caldwell, famously helped at the Battle of Springfield, New Jersey, in 1780. Upon noticing that the company had run out of wadding, the paper used to hold the powder in the barrel of a gun, he ran to a nearby church and procured a pile of hymn books for the job.
“Ministers could also take part in the more clerical side of the Revolution. John Witherspoon was a political parson and represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1782. Not only did he serve on over 100 committees, but his signature can be found on the Declaration of Independence.”
The Heritage Foundation explained the overwhelming clergy and Christian influence in the founding of our nation, including most of those who drafted the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution: “The Founders identified themselves as Christians. Clearly, they did. In 1776, every European American, with the exception of about 2,500 Jews, identified himself or herself as a Christian. Moreover, approximately 98 percent of the colonists were Protestants, with the remaining 1.9 percent being Roman Catholics.”
It’s no surprise that John Jay, the first U.S. Supreme Court justice appointed by none other than George Washington himself, represented most others when he said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
One thing is clear about our founding era: Clergy, churches and Christians were the conscience of the nation. Their activity and participation in every arena of culture – from politics to education and entertainment – kept a civil, moral and religious check on our republic.
Though the Sixth Amendment prohibited a religious test for the election of a president, the founders preferred to elect God-fearing politicians who upheld all the principles in our Constitution and truly believed that we were endowed our Creator with certain unalienable rights. We should do the same.
In the modern era, however, the corruption of Washington combined with the Johnson Amendment, which has been used to stifle American Christians voice, vote and First Amendment liberties, have been persuaded most pastors and Christians to steer far away from being involved or even giving commentary on politics or the election process. As a result, the Christian conscience of the nation has largely slumbered through decades of indifference, leaving secular progressives the opportunity to redirect our country.
In the 2012 election, more than 90 million registered voters decided not to vote.
What percentage was evangelical Christians?
Domenico Montanaro, now NPR’s lead editor for politics and digital audience, explained back in 2012: “The U.S. Census says there are more than 311 million people in the United States. If evangelical adults are 26 percent of them, then there would be 80 million potential voters.”
Montanaro calculated: “So far, 123 million votes have been counted in this election – and that number will get higher by the millions as votes continue to be counted like in 2008. Evangelicals made up 26 percent of them, therefore, about 32 million evangelicals voted – less than half of their population.”
That left 48 million evangelicals missing in action at the polls.
Can you imagine the different outcomes in national and local elections – not to mention state resolutions – if that 48 million-strong army were actively casting ballots?
That is why Franklin Graham, the famed son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said: “We need to do a better job of getting our people – the church – to vote.”
Last week, I wrote my column, “Calling all gun owners to vote!” This week, I’m calling all Christians, and particularly evangelicals and Catholics, to vote. If the gun owners, who make up 100 million people, and the evangelicals, who make up another 80 million, voted, there would be no question about the outcome of this and every other election.
We are the light of the world, a city set on a hill, and the salt of the earth. And if the salt loses its saltiness, what use is it?
Dr. and pastor Robert Jeffress, in his Fox opinion piece, “Why Christians must vote in this election (staying home is not an option),” gave three excellent reasons why every Christian should vote:
- Voting is a God-given privilege and responsibility.
- Voting is a primary way for Christians to stop evil.
- Voting is about endorsing policies, not personalities.
My wife, Gena, and I encourage Christians across our nation to be like our amazing neighbor, who wrote us this letter:
Hello Trump supporters:
I’ve got an idea, and I would like to share it with you. As this late stage, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone being undecided. As for me, I’ve made it clear I’m voting for Donald Trump. But in order for Trump to win, he has to overcome the evil ways of his opponents. Let’s see … there are Crooked Hillary and Her Cheating Heart, relentless voter fraud, a corrupt president/Department of Justice/FBI, a less-than-honest news media, and the treasonous Republican leadership. With just those examples, he’s outnumbered 7 to 1. Trump supporters believe it is critical for America’s future that he becomes our next president. Besides voting for him, there is only one other way we can help him and ourselves, and that is through prayer.
I’ve heard one should never underestimate the power of prayer. There, I propose we organize a “Trump Moment of Prayer” asking God Almighty to help America in her time of need by electing Donald Trump. If millions of us pray together to overcome evil, God will hear us and help us. We can only try, but we must try. If it God’s will, then it will be done.
I think having it the day before the election on November 7, 2016, at 11 a.m. central time (9 a.m. Pacific and 12 p.m. Eastern) would be a great time. I think the way we get this to happen is to spread the word far and wide. We can share a message on Facebook, email family and friends, notify radio and TV stations, and the old-fashioned way: we talk to people. Some of you may know of others ways as well, and maybe we can get a message to Trump. As we spread the word, the spirit of the Lord will be with us.
So, what do you think? The power of prayer is an awesome force. Will you pray and spread the word?
Now is not the time for indifference or sitting on the sidelines of the battlefield. We need American churches and Christians to awaken not only to their First Amendment rights, but even more importantly to their righteous role in our republic, which includes their God-given right to vote.