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“.