Glenn Beck’s Black Robe Regiment

As is being widely reported, Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally saw Beck share the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with “240 men and women of all faiths”, whom he identified – along with “thousands” of other clergy – with the “Black Robe Regiment” of pro-Revolutionary preachers. This follows on from the “pastors and preachers panel” which he assembled in July, where the subject came up during the conversation:

TOM MULLINS, SENIOR PASTOR, CHRIST FELLOWSHIP: Well, Glenn, you know, in the Revolutionary War days, we had the Black Robe Regiment, ministers standing up from the pulpit. And the cries we heard in the streets of America were first heard in pulpits of America. And the people were educated from the biblical principles of what life and liberty is all about.

BECK: What was the — what was the thundering voice? Who said — Sam Adams.

[DAVID] BARTON: John Adams. John Adams called it the pulpit thunder. It was his description of it and it was the black regiment — the Black Robe Regiment.

BECK: Black Robe Regiment. There it is…

The panel also included the apocalyptic conspiracy-theorist John Hagee, and Hagee offered prayers the evening before the rally, at Beck’s “Divine Destiny” event (whether the opening quote-mark should aso encompass Beck’s name remains unclear). Also present at “Divine Destiny” was Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a long-time associate of the Christian Right. Beck also includes moderate Muslims among his “Regiment”, although it’s unclear whether he has anyone specific in mind.

Beck isn’t the first modern conservative to invoke the “Black Robe Regiment”, or “Black Robed Regiment”; the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin has been appealing for Pastors to identify with a “Black Regiment” for several years now, and a holding website for the movement (bizarrely including an image of John Wesley) can be seen here. There is an alternative “Black Robed Regiment” based in Tennessee with a website here; the site identifies with Beck’s event, but does not appear to have any official association. The site emphasises the example of a Revolutionary preacher named Peter Muhlenberg, and it includes a sentimental picture of Muhlenberg ripping open his clerical garb at the pulpit, Superman-like, to reveal a military uniform beneath. It seems doubtful that either group would wish become an interfaith venture, even though many conservative Christians (but not all) are willing to overlook or even defend Beck’s Mormonism to jump on the bandwagon.

UPDATE: Beck’s new website, The Blaze, has a photo gallery of “The Black Robe Regiment: The Clergy of 8/28“.

17 Responses

  1. […] out T.C.’s post as well, BW3, here, here, here, and here as […]

  2. This very good and useful information and I hope it spreads the word about this country’s biblical foundation. I have a blog called Liberty Is the Objective (LibertyIsTheObjective.wordpress.com) and it was developed to get pastors to the point that they will stand up and speak-out as the pastors at Glenn Beck’s Restoring The Honor event are doing. “Liberty Is the Objective” is dedicated to restoring the Church in America as the moral and ethical beacon of our communities. The blog strives to motivate pastors to fully exercise their religious liberty and freedom of speech, speaking the truth according to the Bible to explain the biblical perspective on our culture and current events and then trust in God for their sustenance if there is any financial fallout.

    The strategy is to equip pastors with knowledge and encouragement that would enable them to stand up and do their duty. The strategy is also to equip church members, who feel that their pastor is mute on social, moral and political issues (because he fears losing tax exempt status or offending members, and the natural consequence of lost revenue) to be able to encourage their pastors to speak up.

  3. Chris Rodda’s _Liars for Jesus_ (pp. 454-455) notes that the story about Peter Muhlenberg standing at the pulpit and ripping off his clerical robes to reveal an army uniform didn’t appear until 1849, in a book by his grand-nephew, Henry Augustus Muhlenberg. No contemporary sources support the story, and Henry Muhlenberg appears to have created the story based on a statement in Samuel Kercheval’s _A History of the Valley of Virginia_ (1833), which says only that Muhlenberg “laid off his gown and took up the sword.”

  4. […] Who are they?  This can be answered with two words.  Black and Robe.    A few weeks ago Glen Beck dropped the name, Black Robe Regiment.  And in fact there is an organization called the Black Robe […]

  5. […] in return, receive huge publicity boosts for themselves. This was seen most clearly at the end of last August, at Beck’s “Restoring Honor” […]

  6. […] in this nation in many years”. Hagee shares Richardson’s enthusiasm for Beck; he offered prayers at Beck’s “Divine Destiny“ event the night before the “Restoring Honor” […]

  7. […] have emerged in this nation in many years”. Hagee shares Richardson’s enthusiasm for Beck; he offered prayers at Beck’s “Divine Destiny“ event the night before the “Restoring Honor” rally, and he is […]

  8. […] Hagee is also close to Glenn Beck – he appeared on his show a number of times, and he offered prayers the evening before Beck’s “Divine Destiny“ event last […]

  9. […] One well-known Mormon practice is the vicarious baptism of non-Mormons into the LDS; this appears to be returning the gesture. I blogged on Beck’s alliance with Christian Right pastors – particulatly John Hagee – here. […]

  10. […] One well-known Mormon practice is the vicarious baptism of non-Mormons into the LDS; this appears to be returning the gesture. I blogged on Beck’s alliance with Christian Right pastors – particulatly John Hagee – here. […]

  11. […] Last year, Lapin took part in Glenn Beck’s “Divine Destiny”, as one of Beck’s “Black Robe Regiment” of conservative pastors. A subsequent Media Matters post, drawing on earlier Washington Post reports, notes Lapin’s links to Jack Abramoff, whom I previously discussed here. […]

  12. […] Last year, Lapin took part in Glenn Beck’s “Divine Destiny”, as one of Beck’s “Black Robe Regiment” of conservative pastors. A subsequent Media Matters post, drawing on earlier Washington Post reports, notes Lapin’s links to Jack Abramoff, whom I previously discussed here. […]

  13. […] David Barton and Jim Garlow gloss over his Mormonism; his 2010 “Restoring Honor” event featured “240 men and women of all faiths”; he has a “pastors and preachers panel”; […]

  14. […] Glenn Beck. Barton coached “prayer warriors” in conference calls prior to Beck’s Restoring Honor event on the Mall in D.C. in August 2010. Barton also accompanied Beck on his trips to Israel in […]

  15. […] I wrote about Beck’s links with Hagee and with other Christian Right figures here. […]

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