'Glenn Beck': The Black Robe Brigade

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," April 28, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: We've been warning you about the fundamental transformation of America for a while. The progressive dream is about to become a reality. But how did we get here? Our Founding fathers, a strong foundation. What happened?

Progressives tried this about 100 years ago and they failed. But they got back together and said, "OK, what do we need to do?" And I think — I mean, the best way the describe this — they set a time bomb. They just started deconstructing. They knew that they had to change three things.

The first one that George Washington spoke about in his farewell address. We are a religious and moral people. Our Founders said it over and over again. We wouldn't last unless we are a religious and moral people. That was the number one thing they had to destroy. They had to get God out of our schools. They had to eviscerate our religion and our Sundays, our services. They also undermined moral.

I mean, we've had a — we've had a president convince us in the last 15 years that he can have as many adulterous affairs as he wanted and as long as the economy was OK, we'd be OK.

Religious and moral people. How many people even go to church anymore? Last night, we showed you the statistics about young people in the country and how unimportant religion has become to them. And neither are morals.

OK. The second thing that they learned that they had to do if they wanted to ever fundamentally transform America, they had to take apart our understanding of the Constitution. They had to separate us from it. We don't even read it anymore.

I mean, if you read anything from the 1800s, these were the discussions people were having in bars. They're starting to have them again. People are talking about the Constitution. But our elected officials don't even consider it. They made the Constitution irrelevant. That mission was accomplished. How did they do that? In 1920, they stopped studying the Constitution in law school and started studying case law.

The last thing they had to do is we had a love for our Founding Fathers. We loved them. They had to discredit them. Up until the 1920s, we studied the Constitution and we never heard that our Founding Fathers were racist slave owners.

This was the way to discredit the entire foundation of the country — to do those three things. That is why we are going to do our best to restore some of these things. Every Friday is going to be Founders' Fridays on the program, at least for the next month. And if nobody watches, well, then we'll keep doing it anyway.

We are going to try to repair some of the damage that is being done by truth. Truth. Truth is like fire. It will burn. It will burn everything that is impure. It will set on fire all lies. But it will not consume the truth. So we'll set a few fires by spewing the truth.

We're going to have some people in here who have history, who know the Founders better than anybody else on Earth. One of the guys who's going to be joining us for some of these is David Barton, author of "Original Intent" and founder of Wall Builders, an organization dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes. David.


BECK: Proud to call you a new friend. Am I wrong on these three things?

BARTON: No, you're right.

BECK: These three things have to be restored.

BARTON: They have to be restored.



BECK: So I want to talk to you a little bit about something else you and I talked about off-air for a while and that is the Black Robe Brigade.


BECK: And America, I'm going to ask you now if you have your pastor or your priest or your rabbi, whoever it is, tell them to turn on the show or take down this information because this is important.

You have to do this. The media is not going to it. The government is not going to do it. The parties are not going to do it. They don't care. They're about power and control.

If you care about the Constitution, this is what you have to do.

Tell me about the Black Robe Brigade. What were they? Who were they?

BARTON: The Black Brigade or Black Regiment were the preachers, because they wore black robes. Black preachers, white preachers — they all wore black probes. And the British specifically blamed the preachers for the American Revolution. That's where the title "Black Regiment" came from. One of the British officials talked about that.

It's interesting that the British so hated what the preachers — they claim if it hadn't been for the preachers, America would still be a happy British colony. So they blamed it on the preachers.

When they come to America, they start to decimating churches. They went to New York City. Nineteen churches — they burned 10 to the ground. They went across Virginia burning churches. They went across New Jersey burning churches. Because they blamed these preachers.

BECK: OK. Because the difference is that this is a quintessential American concept that is all but lost.

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: We are almost lost on this. And that is that we talk about individual rights.

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: God gives us individual rights. It's no collective salvation. It's no —

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: When people say, "It's human rights," that is not the same.

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: Explain the difference.

BARTON: It's inalienable rights that the belief of the Founders — and those that came to America — they left Europe. Europe was into collective rights, collective issues, collective everything.

They came to America. These guys said, No. It is individuals. It's you and God. That's why we established a freedom of conscience. Not for the group. That's why one dissenting individual. A Quaker can say, Hey, I'm opposed to war. We say, OK. We let you off. I'm opposed to taking an oath. OK. You can just do an affirmation.

Throughout American history, we allowed dissenters individually because of conscience. That's one-on-one.

We did the same with freedom of religion. You have a right to practice your religion, not only as a group, but as an individual.

All the way through, it was individuals. And what's so cool is it was preachers who did that. Those guys who came — I mean, the first Constitution we ever have written in history of the country, 1638.

The Rev. Thomas Hooker who said, Oh, wait a minute. God gave us the written word so that every one of us could go to his word and know exactly what he wants. We're going to do a written Constitution so every one of you can go to the government and know what the contract is.

Three years later, the Rev. Nathaniel Ward did the first written bill of rights. He said, Wait a minute. We need to have limitations so government can't get in our individual rights. So we're doing a written bill of rights.

BECK: This has never been done before.

BARTON: Never. This is brand-new stuff. Brand-new stuff.

BECK: These are not from the scholars per se —

BARTON: Brand-new stuff.

BECK: You know, that we would look at. These were from the religious figures of America.

BARTON: That's right.


BARTON: The religious leaders.

BECK: When we come back, I want to tell you a little more specifically the stories of these guys. And then, I want to ask you to get involved because you may be the one that makes a difference. Back in a minute.


BECK: You know, I've been thinking about the civil rights movement. And any real movement in the country has always been a spiritual movement. You know, the end of slavery — all of it.

And it took extraordinary people — extraordinary people that had their values and their principles in line.

David Barton is back with me. And David, we have been talking about something that was called the Black Regiment. Later, it became known as the Black Robe Brigade.

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: The preachers in America.

BARTON: The preachers.

BECK: There was a revival in about 1640 in America and it kind of — it took off. And the British said this was the reason —


BECK: The revolution happened. Would it have gone through, do you believe, if it hadn't been for the preachers?

BARTON: We would have something, but not looking like what we have today.

BECK: More like France?

BARTON: It would have looked a lot more like France. It would like Europe.

BECK: That's exactly —

BARTON: And we are the only country in the world that does not average a revolution every 30 to 40 years. I like that.

BECK: Right.


And again this is because the difference is, individual rights —

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: Not collective.

BARTON: That's exactly right.

BECK: OK. So tell me who some of these people were.

BARTON: Great example. Let me take a preacher in Virginia in 1776. He pastored two churches in a little rural town. He was also a member of the legislature — John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg.

While in Williamsburg, the British came marching in town. No big deal, because we haven't signed the Declaration yet. We were still British colonies. But they started going in private homes, taking things especially guns and ammunition. And so Patrick Henry said, no way. Patrick Henry got 5,000 farmers to go get 200 British soldiers get all their stuff back.

But Pastor Muhlenberg, on the other side of the state — his churches. He thinks, My guys need to hear about this. So he jumps on a horseback and rides all the way back. He preaches a sermon Sunday morning, January 21st, 1776.

His side of the state doesn't know what's happening with the British. He's in the pulpit and he's in his black robe, his clerical robe. And he's preaching from Ecclesiastes 3, "To everything, there's a time, purpose, season."

Here's the verse, "A time of peace and a time of war." When he read this, he said, "Brethren — " he said, "This is no longer a time of peace. This is now a time of war." And he gave them a news flash. And of course, they were all, Oh, my gosh. What do we do?

Then, instead of doing what he always did — have a dismissal prayer, go to vestment room and disrobe, he started undressing right in front of the congregation. And much to their shock — they'd never seen that. But when he jerked out his clerical robe, underneath, he was wearing the full dress uniform of an officer in the Continental Army.

He then dismounted the pulpit, went to the back of the church and he preached as he went in. He said, we came here to practice our liberties. And if we don't get involved, we're going to lose our liberties. Now, who is going with me to defend them? Three hundred men got up and met him at the back of the church.

BECK: OK. Now, here is an interesting part of the story, because he understood individual liberty, but his brother said — right?

BARTON: Right.

BECK: Can't be involved.

BECK: I want to introduce you to the brother, next.


BECK: We're back with David Barton, by the way, to learn more about the forgotten history stories. Check out David's DVD set, "The American Heritage Series," available at WallBuilders.com.

All right. We're talking about the Black Regiment, which is now known as the Black Robe Brigade.

BARTON: Right.

BECK: They were responsible for the revolution according to the British. And I mean, everything I read —

BARTON: And John Adams and all the other Founders as well.

BECK: Right. Samuel Adams was — we're going to do a special tomorrow or Friday on Samuel Adams for Founders' Friday. You are joining us for that, are you not?

BARTON: Yes, sir.

BECK: Yes, OK. Let me show you —

BARTON: Muhlenberg.

BECK: Muhlenberg. This is the guy — he was a preacher in Virginia that — here, this is the statue of him in the capital where he is taking off the robe after he preached his sermon and said, "Let's go, boys." But he had a brother.

BARTON: He had a brother.

BECK: Show the brother here and tell me his story.

BARTON: His brother is Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg who pastored up in New York City. And when Pastor Frederick in New York City heard what his brother Peter had done, he said, wrong. You should have stayed in the pulpit. Church shouldn't get involved in this stuff.

And that's what his brother believed until the British came marching into New York City in 1777 and threw him out of his church. And as he stood outside, they desecrated his church. And he has this epiphany and says, maybe I ought to get involved as well or I'm going to lose my liberties.

And so he decides to get involved. He actually ends up being the speaker of the House in Pennsylvania, helps write their original Constitution. And he is the first ever speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. There are only two signatures on the bottom of the Bill of Rights and one is his — the Rev. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg.

And significantly, his brother had become a major general in the revolution by that time, one of Washington's top generals.

BECK: OK. So David, I guess what I'm introducing here to America — and correct me if I'm wrong — is the fact we're a nation of religious people, of morals, of God. This is his land, his right.


BECK: He was instrumental but it took people with a spine to stand up.

BARTON: It did. It did.

BECK: And it wasn't about politics.


BECK: They were not standing in the church — because I would leave a church that starts talking to me about politics.


BECK: It's not who to vote for, what to vote for, what party to be in. This is about individual rights not human rights.

BARTON: That's right.

I'm getting a lot of heat from churches now because of Jim Wallis. And he says, you know, social justice is what Jesus would have —

BARTON: That's collective rights. Jesus was not into collective rights.

BECK: Right.

BARTON: He didn't die for world in large.

BECK: Right.

BARTON: He died for every single individual —


BECK: When you go out to be judged, it's not like, "Beck, party of 10."

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: Beck, party of 10. It's one.

BARTON: It's individual.

BECK: Right.


BARTON: And that's what was so unique about America, is we had this concept of individual. Now, we're getting collective. That is socialistic Marxism.

BECK: And social justice has been out for the last century, started in the '20s. And I know you have —

BARTON: Yes. Here is a sermon. I mean, we used to have some backbone in churches and we have allowed ourselves to be compartmentalized to a little bitty thing and the government tells us what we can talk about. We've let the IRS get in.

We had a lot of courage before. We said, No, no, no. And so, here's a sermon talking about the evils of social justice, how it's creeping into the churches, how it perverts doctrine and perverts belief.

And it really goes back to a couple of guys who started the social gospel movement. You know, Harry Ward and Reinhold Niebuhr are the two guys that brought that in.

And that was a dangerous thing for churches. And now, we've let ourselves become completely irrelevant. And so we wonder why numbers are sliding in the polls with our kids.

BECK: Right. America, do your homework. We will try to help you as much as we can. But this is a collective effort on individual rights.

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