During Glenn Beck’s August 28 rally at the Lincoln Memorial he introduced a group of 240 pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams that he calls the “Black Robe Brigade.” (Despite the promotion of this group as ecumenical, I think most of them were Protestant evangelicals). The group is named after the so-called “Black Regiment,” a term employed by eighteenth-century Tories and Anglicans to describe dissenting clergy who supported the American Revolution and took part in the rebellion against England. Peter Oliver, one of the first Tory historians of the American Revolution, devoted several pages to the Black Regiment in his 1781 work The Origin & Progress of the American Rebellion.
Beck got the idea for the “Black Robe Brigade” from David Barton, a political activist who has become very effective at a practice that might be called “political indoctrination by historical example.” Beck has received help in mobilizing his brigade from an all-star cast of evangelical leaders that includes James Dobson, John Hagee, Richard Land, Jerry Falwell Jr., and James Robison. Beck wants all pastors who care about their country to join him in the fight to reclaim the religious and moral roots of the United States.
When I first heard about Beck’s “Black Robe Brigade” I knew it would only be a matter of time before local pastors would be faced with pressure to join the cause.