Black Robed Regiment in New Jersey
A new organization of conservative pastors held its charter meeting in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, last Wednesday. They evoked a term dating from the American Revolution: the Black Robed Regiment.
About fifty concerned pastors and other New Jersey citizens gathered at the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. At 10:30 a.m., they said several prayers – prayers for the state of the country, and obvious petitions for God to act when America is becoming God-less. Then at 11:00 a.m., the business began. When the meeting ended, the Black Robed Regiment of New Jersey was born.
Black Robed Regiment in History
The first Black Robed Regiment consisted of pastors who openly preached defiance of the King of England. A British general gave them that name, to express his scorn. The name stuck.
Peter Muhlenberg was the most memorable member of the original Black Robed Regiment. On January 21, 1776, Muhlenberg stood up in his church in Woodstock, Virginia and preached a sermon from Ecclesiastes chapter 3. He quoted the text about “a time of war and a time of peace.” Then he said,
In the language of the holy writ, there was a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come!
So saying, he stripped off his pastoral robe, and showed his congregants the uniform he wore as a general in the Continental Army. (His brother Frederick once objected to Peter Muhlenberg’s involvement in the war against the King. When British troops burned down his church in front of him, Frederick joined the Continental Army himself.)
Black Robed Regiment – other movements
The idea of a Black Robed Regiment is not new. Glenn Beck suggested it in 2010, as part of his Restoring Honor Rally program. And other Black Robed Regiment programs have already started, in Virginia, for instance. Furthermore, any pastor wanting information on how to influence his own congregation now has “Black Robed Regiment” resources available.
Chuck Baldwin, two weeks ago, expressed frustration with American pastors generally. He said too many pastors placed faith in government instead of God. Today, he says, they have little room to complain when the government seems to endorse moral turpitude in American society. He called on pastors to “preach the Bible without fear of losing the tax exempt status that Washington, DC hangs over their heads.” Anyone who was at the Black Robed Regiment charter meeting, knows that these pastors intend to do just that.
Black Robed Regiment of New Jersey
RoseAnn Salanitri is the driving force behind the Black Robed Regiment of New Jersey. She lectured the group on the amendments that then-Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, D-TX, used to forbid pastors to endorse candidates. She suggested that even if a pastor may not endorse a candidate directly to his own flock, he might invite another like-minded pastor to do something similar.
(Alan B. Brown is pastor of Parsippany Baptist Church in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey. He told CNAV he will always preach the Bible without fear, and will never let the government tell him what he may or may not say.)
The group elected a seven-member Board of Trustees. They elected John Tomiki as President, The Rev. Steve Craft as Vice-President, Carole Lokan Moore as Secretary, Terry A. Hurlbut as Treasurer, and Pastor Steve Nash as Chairman of the Board. Father Richard Davidson and Nick Purpura round out the Board of Trustees.
The Black Robed Regiment of New Jersey plans to incorporate as a New Jersey non-profit corporation. They will seek only a minimal tax exemption, and will not seek permission to receive tax-deductible donations per Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This will let the group endorse candidates, a thing that 501(c)(3) charities and foundations may not do.