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Thursday
Sep032009

Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg and Rev. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg--Lessons From The Past on First Amendment 101

Bill of Rights

Tyranny moves men into action--a great example is of the story of  two Reverends.  One was the signer to the Bill of Rights.

First we must start with the story of his brother John Peter Muhlenberg.  Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg (there is a statue in honor of him at the Capitol)  told his Woodstock, Virginia congregation on Sunday January 21, 1776, "a time to preach and a time to pray. But there is also a time to fight and that time has now come." He faced a crowded church that Sunday morning. In his long black clerical gown, he read the first eight verses of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, then preached the sermon that has come down through the years as a tradition and a challenge. 

After the benediction, he then cast aside his clerical robe to stand before the congregation in the uniform of a Colonel in the Eighth Virginia Regiment. He marched down that aisle as he said "we came here to practice our religious and civil liberties and if we don't get involved we are going to lose those liberties.  Who's going with me to defend those liberties?"  Drums beat in the churchyard and 300 men and boys followed him and enlisted in the Continental Army with their pastor as their leader which became the 8th Virginia Brigade.

He became a Major General and was one of George Washington's most trusted men.  His brother the Reverend Frederick Muhlenberg disagreed with him at the onset and had sent him a letter telling him he would have acted for the best if he'd kept out of this business from the beginning and that John Peter was wrong.

John Peter wrote back in his letter "you accused me of getting involved-that I shouldn't because I am a clergyman. I am a clergyman it is true. I am a member of society as we ll as the poorest of laymen. My liberty is as dear to me as it is to any man shall I then sit still?  Heaven forbid it.  I am convinced it is my duty so to do and duty I owe to God and my country" [quotes is from David Barton of Wallbuilders on his CD America's Birthday]

In 1777 British invaded NY City and they desecrated and seized his church.  Rev. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg then changed his mind. He too got involved-- so much so that he became the First Speaker of the House. His is one of the two signatures on the Bill of Rights (other is John Adams).

Do you think he would want the First Amendment misinterpreted as the Courts do now?  Most certainly not.  He and his brother are great examples to the truth behind the first amendment.  Courts need to do their job which is to interpret it according to the Founding Fathers intent.  Now you know.

These pastors were great leaders of the American Revolution.   Another example--the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord. Their leader was the Rev. Jonas Clark. They fought so that we can have the freedoms we enjoy today and one of them is to fight for change in our government peaceably--with discourse and informed votes. Hope many pastors will take up their stand and become involved.

 Read more on the Muhlenbergs

 

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