On July 3, 1863, close to thirteen thousand soldiers rose from their tree-shielded position and bravely marched three-quarters of a mile over open fields, under the constant barrage of thick cannonade and furious enemy fire. Half never returned from the assault. A very few made it to the objective, the center of the enemy position on the opposing ridge, the High-Water Mark of the Confederacy. This engagement is known as Pickett’s Charge. It ranks with the bravest maneuvers, however ill-conceived, in human history. Walking these fields, as I have done, is an unnerving experiment. Earth and rocks alike seem to remember the cries of these gallants who, to this point in the history of the west, made the last charge of liberty.
In the midst of our agonizing present, some speak of a return to the Constitution. This would, be preferable to the cabal of pirates and gangsters that now rule. However, we do well to remember Pickett’s Charge. This was the charge of men who saw the U.S. Constitution for what it was – then: an instrument of tyranny in the hands of a vested oligarchy and commercial interests, Hamiltonian federalists whose scheming and backroom deals gave us the façade of liberty, Patrick Henry’s rat, our political cancer, the first level of what is now the American Tower of Babel. Their political heirs are orchestrating events to consolidate their power, which the Constitution, due to its fatal ambiguity about the true source of law and its centralizing tendencies, gave to them.
It does not matter the reason for Pickett’s defeat. Its meaning is the important thing. The brave men who died that day were not fighting to restore the Constitution; they fought to be freed from it, to begin afresh on a better legal footing, a decentralized one, many, though not all, on a more self-consciously Christian and biblical foundation. They were not fighting to extend or perpetuate slavery. This was a northern issue, not a southern one, brought into the war discussion by the north only for propaganda purposes, because its own people were tiring of the war, the martial law – in the north, the imprisonment of critics of Lincoln’s little war to preserve the tariffs for his wealthy friends, and, yes, the many defeats. Those taught in government and non-theocratic Christian schools should know that one of the largest riot on U.S. soil took place in New York City, when Lincoln tried to impose the draft on a population that was sick of a war they suspected was nothing but an excuse to extend government power.
Historical revision is killing us, at least paralyzing us. Conservatives and Evangelicals who desire a “return to the Constitution” are on the same side, though perhaps not consciously and certainly not maliciously, as those who shot down Pickett’s brave soldiers. Why would we want to restore the very document that marked a change of gods, a way of life and form of government for which our ancestors died to be freed? Is this the union we desire? Can we not see in the present policies of the United States government – what we have seen in every administration since the last charge of liberty – the extension and intensification of the victory and government theory espoused by those who obtained, by force of arms, the right to interpret, apply, and neglect the Constitution as they see fit. Therefore, stop complaining. We live in occupied territory. Those committed to the older view of civil government, and more importantly, the biblical religion that gave rise to it, need to accept political realities, historical truth, and hard providence. We have not had a country since 1865.
This does not mean we do nothing, but it does mean it is pointless to seek reformation within the system. The system itself is the problem, not the men who run it, for the change of faces does nothing to stymie the march of tyranny. All current political parties, to the degree that they see the system as inherently good and worthy preserving, are, knowing or unknowing, enemies of liberty. I offer this suggestion, unpopular though it will be. Let Ron Paul, for example, if he truly desires to be a leader of men, stop calling for an audit of the Fed, or even for its end. Unless he has more bravery, more guns, and better strategy than the men who made the last charge of liberty, he is wasting his energy and raising false hopes. Instead, let him call upon state governors and local officials to burn federal checks upon their respective capital steps. Let him, as a professing Christian, expose the idolatry and blasphemy of the Fed and its currency, which has emblazoned “In God We Trust” upon it, but whose theft and manipulations are assaults upon the very throne name and throne of God. This is not so much a challenge to Ron Paul as it is a plea to all lovers of liberty to recognize that the current government is the same was in place the last time men screwed up the courage to look canons in the face and march for liberty against tyranny. Unless God raises up such men, liberty will remain unattainable. Our complaints will only enrich the talk-show hosts and keep the donor base supplying worthless paper. Liberty is not obtained through voting within a hopelessly corrupt system but through separating from wickedness, trusting in the Lord of Hosts, and keeping one’s powder dry.
Strange, I know it is, to read these words from a preacher, but the sheep should not be led astray. There is a conspiracy here, not so much of men, whose faces and policies constantly change, but of the evil one, who is working toward his ultimate purpose: to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ upon these shores. Why, I ask you, did our forefathers settle here? I refer not to the “Statue of Liberty” version of American history, for our heralded melting pot, in that the church has not responded to it with aggressive evangelism, thus acquiescing to its inevitable religious synthesis, has fatally weakened our former allegiance to Jesus Christ and his infallible Word. No, our ancestors came to worship God biblically, escape European tyranny, organize themselves, socially and politically, according to the Bible, as most of the earliest charters bear clear witness, and extend the kingdom of God by bringing the gospel to these shores. We have fatally short memories. Satan does not. His scheme from the beginning has been to water down, compromise, and reduce the comprehensive claims of Jesus Christ, who is and will ever remain the only King of this nation. He has been successful. Many of us are abysmally, treacherously ignorant of history, the law of God, and the true gospel of human depravity overcome by sovereign grace and substitutionary atonement. For us, religion, our preferred church, our religious pep-rallies are simply a personal choice, something to make us feel spiritual, or superior to others who have not discovered our favorite version of Jesus. The net result of our consumer lives, electronic worship, and heavy metal hymnody is submission to tyranny, a truncated faith that is perfectly willing to bow to pluralism as long as our own way of life remains undisturbed. And now, feeling a little more unsettled than usual, we look to the system, or at least its “conservative” branch to rescue us. Blasphemy! Treachery against the enthroned Lord of glory! Abdication of responsibility! Reduction of the claims of Jesus Christ! Idolatry!
I see no Henry, no Pickett, no Lee, who later said he should have fought to the last man, no Jackson, even no Jefferson on the horizon, though God may raise them up in our hour of need, as he often has. I see pragmatists, consumers, sleepers, maintainers of the status quo – in my own life too. However, since we know that our battle is not against flesh and blood, there is need far deeper than for such men, as welcome as they would be. We must see the present situation for what it is: an insult to the majesty, authority, covenant, and kingdom of Jesus Christ. There is a need to pray for more than a new job because I have lost mine, or more income since my precious dollar is losing its buying power. We must pray for God to defend his Beloved, his Bride, his Church against the assaults of the devil. We must pray for God to defend his own name and honor, to life himself up and show the nations that they are but men. We must give him no rest until he makes Jerusalem, his Church, a praise in the earth. We must pray for the grace of repentance: for our compromise, for trampling in the dust of forgetfulness the memory and sacrifice of our God-fearing forebears, for not evangelizing our neighbors, for not pointing them to another King, one Jesus, without submission to whom this and every nation on earth will be judged and cast into hell. We must pray for broken hearts, rivers of waters running down our eyes, because men have made void God’s law by carelessness, self-absorption, and idolatry. This must be our march toward liberty, and it cannot fail, for the living God will be exalted among the heathen. He will be exalted on the earth. The next charge of liberty awaits Christian men in whose hearts an all-consuming vision of the glory of God, passion for King Jesus, and unswerving allegiance to the Bible reign with such zeal that they will die for liberty under God’s law rather than settle for security under man’s tyranny.