I wrote about the original Black Robed Regiment in September 2011. The British blamed the Black Robed Regiment for the Revolutionary War, and modern historians agree. The British named the patriotic group of clergy for the black robes they wore while performing their church duties. The pastors were courageous in their leadership in the cause of liberty for the American patriots.
According to historian David Barton, the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence came from the sermons given by the clergy for the previous two decades. The clergy were credited by the British, the Founding Fathers, and modern historians for inspiring and supporting the fight for independence.
On August 28, 2010, Glenn Beck held his Restoring Honor event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. That event closed with Beck introducing a “group of 240 religious leaders from among the `Black Robed Regiment’ that includes clergy of various denominations, ranging from evangelical pastors to Roman Catholic priests to Jewish rabbis to Muslim imams, among others….”
Beck recently made an announcement about the modern Black Robed Regiment “ready to stand against the government.” His announcement included an interview with David Barton who explained the role of the pastors – “black pastors, white pastors, Catholic and Protestant” -- in the American Revolution. Barton then told the following story about George Whitfield, a preacher who was “influential in both American politics and the military.”
“When we had the Stamp Act that really kind of started the whole process of moving toward the Revolution, when it came time to protest the Stamp Act in London, America sent two people to London to protest the Stamp Act. One was Ben Franklin, the other was George Whitfield. So there’s a guy very involved in politics. Then when it comes times – Whitfield is one of the first to tell the Americans, if you want to preserve your freedoms, you’ll have to separate and become independent. Whitfield is the guy credited with starting the American military, the first military flag, and the first military motto. So when he died in 1770, which was the end of the Great Awakening, at his death, he was buried at a church in Newbury Port, Massachusetts. When George Washington sent the first expedition out to start the American Revolution, it was to Quebec in 1775. That expedition going out of Massachusetts stopped at the church at Newbury Port, where Whitfield was buried. They went inside. They had a sermon. After the sermon, they lifted the top [of] the sepulcher, and the soldiers all reached in and cut off a piece of Whitfield’s robe to take with them into battle. Because he’s the father of the military. Now, how many preachers today would be accused of being the father of the military or are arguing economic policy in front of parliament or starting the military. That’s the Black Robe Regiment back then.”
Barton says “the Black Robed Regiment has grown to 40,000 preachers. These are men with character and backbone, who are standing up for Biblical principles and freedom of conscience. `It’s not only the time, but we’re now seeing people respond,’ David said. `We’re seeing pastors respond in a way we haven’t seen. We have seen in the last few days, 40,000 pastors sign a petition that says, I will go to jail before I follow what the Supreme Court says if they get marriage wrong. They can do what they want to. 40,000 pastors, including one pastor with a 35,000-member church. And those are usually the guys that don’t have the backbone, is the guys with the megachurches. We will not compromise on this. We will go to jail on this. But we’re standing for the biblical definition of marriage.”
Even though its leaders do not wear black robes, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken a stand for traditional marriage. In January 2014 after a federal judge struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued the following statement.
“… Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife….
“Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standard of moral conduct and good standing for members.
“Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there….”
In April 2015 the Church joined a number of other religions – such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Free Methodist Church – USA, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church – in a “friend of the court” brief, “urging the court to uphold a traditional definition of marriage.” The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on April 28.
The amicus filing stated, “Notwithstanding our theological differences, we are united in declaring that the traditional institution of marriage is indispensable to the welfare of the American family and society. We are also united in our belief that a decision requiring the States to license or recognize same-sex marriage would generate church-state conflicts that will imperil vital religious liberties. This brief is submitted out of our firm judgment that the Constitution does not require States to take that fateful step.”
LDS teachings listed in the filing include the following relevant principles: (1) “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God,” (2) “the traditional family is the foundation of society,” and (3) “marriage and family supply the crucial relationships through which parents and children acquire private and public virtue.”
“Out of support for these fundamental beliefs, the Church appears in this case to defend the traditional, husband-wife definition of marriage.”
Even though The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints backed a recent Utah bill that guarded against discrimination in housing and employment for LGBT people, it also back a bill that allows county clerks to opt-out of performing same sex marriage but someone in the office must do it.
LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins wrote in a statement to FOX 13: “The Church’s deep belief and commitment to marriage between a man and a woman is well known. While we have been outspoken proponents in favor of protections for LGBT people in such areas as housing and employment, we believe that a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples has profoundly troubling implications for society in the long term. We have therefore joined with many other diverse faiths representing tens of millions of Americans in expressing our views to the Supreme Court.”
The Black Robed Regiment has taken a stand to support traditional marriage. Are you willing to take the same stand? Will you go to jail rather than support same-sex marriage?