Political catechism

I had always wondered how our nation’s founders (terrorist insurgents that they were) argued the merits of their rebellion to a profoundly Christian population, so I did a little Googling on the subject.  Turns out to still be a pretty hot topic (732,000 hits).  Anyway, I came across an interesting essay at http://www.wallbuilders.com/resources/search/detail.php?ResourceID=40.  Near the end of it, the author quotes “A Political Catechism” written by Francis Hopkinson in 1777.  Hopkinson was a signer of the Declaration of Independence (and a church choir leader, musician, noted poet and literary figure).  His catechism is most ironic and relevant to our own world disorder:

Q. What is war?

A. The curse of mankind; the mother of famine and pestilence; the source of complicated miseries; and the undistinguishing destroyer of the human species.

Q. How is war divided?

A. Into offensive and defensive.

 Q. What is the general object of an offensive war? . . .

A. [F]or the most part, it is undertaken to gratify the ambition of a prince, who wishes to subject to his arbitrary will a people whom God created free, and to gain an uncontrolled dominion over their rights and property. . . .

Q. What is defensive war?

A. It is to take up arms in opposition to the invasions of usurped power and bravely suffer present hardships and encounter present dangers, to secure the rights of humanity and the blessings of freedom, to generations yet unborn.

Q. Is even defensive war justifiable in a religious view?

A. The foundation of war is laid in the wickedness of mankind . . . . God has given man wit to contrive, power to execute, and freedom of will to direct his conduct. It cannot be but that some, from a depravity of will, will abuse these privileges and exert these powers to the injury of others: and the oppressed would have no safety nor redress but by exerting the same powers in their defence: and it is our duty to set a proper value upon and defend to the utmost our just rights and the blessings of life: otherwise a few miscreants [unprincipled individuals] would tyrannize over the rest of mankind, and make the passive multitude the slaves of their power. Thus it is that defensive is not only justifiable, but an indispensable duty.

Q. Is it upon these principles that the people of America are resisting the arms of Great Britain, and opposing force with force?

 A. Strictly so. . . . And may Heaven prosper their virtuous undertaking!

Q. But it has often been said, that America is in a state of rebellion. Tell me, therefore, what is Rebellion?

A. It is when a great number of people, headed by one or more factious leaders, aim at deposing their lawful prince without any just cause of complaint in order to place another on his throne.

Q. Is this the case of the Americans?

A. Far otherwise.

Cheers, everyone!  In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in want.  May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.

Related Posts

We expect people to die. The destruction of the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul is another example of the 'culturecide' we've become so used to By Robert Fisk, Thursday 29 June 2017 ...
Why Obama?   Following the first debate between Obama and Romney, an observer in Norway lamented that the race could be distilled down to its politic...
A crucial part of their faith Wearing a Cross to Work Announced by Archdruid Eileen, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 ... I was musing on the great Wearing A Cross to Work controver...
Up against the wall B is for Bumpkins By Jacques d'Nalgar, May 13 2014 CE   Back in 1973, Jerry Jeff Walker had a big hit with a Ray Wylie Hubbard song that...
Self-deception started early Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom Stands the Test of Time By Howard Zinn, July 4, 2017   Editor’s Note: The late historian and Progressive c...
A Moment of Silence A poem for 9-11 By Emmanuel Ortiz, September 11, 2002   Before I begin this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence ...
Mother of all Hypocrisy If Trump cares so much about Syrian babies, why is he not condemning the rebels who slaughtered children? By Robert Fisk, Monday 17 April 2017 12:15 ...
How can I respond in 500 words On January 6, 2016, Dr. Jack Sternberg wrote yet another letter to the editor in the Sentinel Record, titled "Diatribes, not answers." Doctor Jack alw...
When I was there It was better to live in Iraq under Saddam By Chris Maume, Thursday 12 June 2014   News that Islamic extremists have conquered Mosul took ...
Religious ideology is a tool Why the Arabs Don’t Want Us in Syria By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., February 22, 2016   In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I'v...

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2005/12/30/political-catechism/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.