Photo 1: From Left to Right: Father Tom Simmons- Rector St Peters Episcopal Church, Purcellville, VA, Rev. Alfred Archer, Sr. Pastor, Cedar Lane Bible Way Church, Purcellville, VA, Rev. Jack Stagman, Founder, Restore Virginia PAC/ The Shepherd’s Table and Transformation Forum Network, Bishop Rev. E. W. Jackson, President S.T.A.N.D. (Staying True to America’s National Destiny), Rev. William Cook, Founder & Executive Director, The Black Robe Regiment of Virginia, Rev. Lt. Gen. William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (Ret.), Executive Vice President, Family Research Council, Rev. Gary Smith, Senior Pastor, Leesburg Church of the Nazarene, Leesburg, VA, Rev. Michael Hirsch, Senior Pastor, Calvary Christian Church, Fredericksburg, VA, Don Blake, Chairman/President, Virginia Christian Alliance, John Nuzum, Pastoral Associate, Church of the Holy Spirit (Anglican), Leesburg, VA, Rev. Travis Witt, Supply Pastor, Strawberry Baptist Association, Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg Re-enactor.
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.
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 thundered” 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.
Mighty men they were, of iron nerve and strong hand and unblanched cheek and heart of flame ... And such were the sons of the mighty who responded to the divine call.
The Black Robe Regiment of Virginia was founded by Rev. William Cook in July 2012 in response to the continuing erosion of religious liberty in the United States. The Black Robe Regiment of Virginia is a fellowship of Virginia clergy and laymen who identify with the faith, patriotism, and fighting spirit of Reverend John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg and the Black Robe Regiment of the Founding Era, the preachers who inspired, led, fought in, and recruited soldiers from their own congregations to fight in the American War for Independence. We stand together with other patriotic ministers and ministries across Virginia and America, the vanguard of a national clergy-led movement to restore America’s godly heritage and Constitutional Government of, by, and for the American people.
For most of American history, pastors understood that they bore primary responsibility for the spiritual, moral, and political welfare of the nation. Clergy have always figured prominently in the American Story and until recently, most felt that the charge to preach the “whole counsel of God” included a duty to equip their flocks with a biblical understanding about citizenship, voting, and civic engagement.
Photo 2: “For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God’s sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into Curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going. But if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship other Gods our pleasures, and profits, and serve them, it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good Land whether we pass over this vast Sea to possess it.” - Reverend John Winthrop