Christianity and the American Revolutionary War
Harry Stout points out in the lead article, How Preachers Incited Revolution, "it was Protestant clergy who propelled colonists toward independence and who theologically justified war with Britain" (n.pag). According to Cassandra Niemczyk in her article in this issue of Christian History "(the Protestant Clergy) were known as "the Black Regiment" (n.pag). Furthermore, as the article Holy Passion for Liberty shows, "Americans were quick to discern the hand of God in the tumultuous events of the times" (n.pag). Mark Galli, the editor of this issue says "many devout believers were opposed to the war, and not necessarily on pacifist grounds. Most colonial legislatures exempted pacifists, such as Quakers and Mennonites, from military duty although they were still fined to underwrite the expenses of the war" (n.pag). Stout goes on to say " Pacifist opposition to the war was concentrated in Pennsylvania. Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish refused to fight, and for their refusal were suppressed and humiliated like the royalists" (n.pag). Often the pacifists served in hospitals, tending to both British and American wounded. From these readings one can discern that Eighteenth-century America was a deeply religious culture. Sermons taught not only the way to personal salvation in Christ but also the way to temporal and national prosperity for God's chosen people. Timothy D. Hall a professor at Central Michigan University in The American Revolution and the Religious Public Sphere gives us this overview: "Religion played other important roles in mobilizing support for Revolution regardless of whether it was evangelical or not. Colonists often encountered Revolutionary themes for the first time when local ministers announced the latest news from the pulpit or when parishioners exchanged information after Sunday meetings. Ministers occupied an important place in the colonial communications network throughout the eighteenth...
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