Monday, April 5, 2010

Religion's Role in the Revolutionary War: the Rev. Jonas Clark

Today, as we hear debates on various issues, our religious leaders sometimes speak out. Those who feel our founders intended for ministers and priests to stay out of such matters raise the phrase "separation of church and state." Perhaps, though, in objecting that way, they are not aware of the role religion played in important events in the past, such as the abolition of slavery, or even the formation of our country.

Consider the role of Reverend Jonas Clark, minister in Lexington around the time of the Revolutionary War. Here is a small quote from the speech, "The Rev. Jonas Clark," given by Theodore Gilman to The New York Society of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, at the Hotel Manhattan, New York, October 19th, 1911:

"It is an alluring task to recount the names of these patriots. But we must refrain, for we wish to restrict ourselves to honor here this evening, one who is pre-eminent among these leaders and thinkers, the Rev. Jonas Clark pastor of the church at Lexington, Massachusetts, for fifty years. His place was not on the battlefield, but he nerved the arms of the fighters, he informed the minds of legislators and he unfolded the principles of equity and righteousness on which the contest for independence was based. Jonas Clark, the revolutionary pastor and thinker, was a man whose mental powers should place him in line with Locke, Rousseau and Jefferson, and whose influence on the destinies of the republic was felt by John Hancock Samuel Adams, and the Legislature and people of Massachusetts as well as by the men of Lexington who were the heroes of the 19th of April, 1775."

Read the whole speech here:

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