Following the 2020 election in the United States a number of supporters of the incumbent President were dissatisfied with the results. Two courses of action were followed. One course was by a team of lawyers representing the reelection campaign of Donald Trump. They filed sixty-four lawsuits in various states. The suits alleged massive voter fraud and sought the overturning of official certifications in those states. Court records are a matter of public record, so one can research the data without relying on the news media. This is what I found. Of those sixty-four court cases three were dismissed for Lack of Standing. Four were dismissed for Lack of Cause (not alleging enough instances of voter fraud to justify the sought remedy). The overwhelming number of cases, all of the remaining fifty-seven, were dismissed or withdrawn by the reelection campaign’s own lawyers for Lack of Evidence. Very well. The reelection campaign exercised their legal rights. One could say that their method, going to court, was in keeping with respect for the United States and the Rule of Law.
But the other course of action was the very opposite of patriotism. It was, in fact, treasonous; not against a political entity as such, but against the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law and Democracy share reciprocal protection. And in the United States the highest law of the land is the Constitution. Attackers broke into the Capitol Building at almost two o’clock in the afternoon of January 6, 2021 (hereafter to be called the Epiphany Putsch), having walked across the Washington D.C. Mall from a rally held by the defeated President. They chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” and had actually constructed a gallows with a hangman’s noose on a dangling rope. He was presiding over the Senate at that moment. They also voiced an intention to kill the Speaker of the House. Both houses of Congress were in session, not to decide anything, but to carry out the Constitutionally required duty of certifying the votes already presented by the Electors.
If indeed the President of the Senate (i.e., the Vice President of the United States) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives had died in that attack, a Constitutional crisis unlike anything in history could have created a legal loophole that had the potential to work as a coup against the Constitution of the United States, against the Rule of Law and its reciprocal protection of Democracy. An incumbent who had lost by the Rule of Law might have held onto power against everything the Founding Fathers clearly intended for the country. The actual box containing the physical votes of the Electors was spirited away to safety along with all the members of both houses. No one can say that the attackers acted in keeping with respect for the United States and the Rule of Law. They were certainly not patriots. Just the opposite.
NO AMERICAN REVOLUTION
The tragedy is that the most outspoken insurrectionists among them had been so terribly deceived that they wrongly imagined themselves to be patriots. Some thought they were acting in the same spirit as the Founders of the country. This is partly due to a seriously flawed education. What happened in the United States is called the Revolutionary War or the American Revolution, a war that lasted from April 19, 1775 to September 3, 1783, and that birthed the independence of the United States in July 1776. We have always called it a revolution. Even the greatest Founding Father of them all (in my humble opinion), John Adams, called it a revolution. But was it? The Americans did not overthrow the King and Parliament of Great Britain. It was a war of Independence; but it was not a revolution by dictionary definition. It was not a coup either. The problem with calling it a revolution is that this habit has produced a complete misunderstanding that is having dangerous consequences in our own time.
When the British colonies were founded, with their thirteen respective royal charters, they were fully empowered by the Crown and The Parliament to establish colonial legislatures. This they did, each and every one. Theirs was the binding legal authority recognized by the Parliament and commanded by the Crown. When, for example, the Boston Massacre occurred (March 5, 1770), the soldiers who killed the colonists were tried for murder. Their defense counsel, John Adams, obtained an acquittal by convincing the jury that the soldiers were young men who acted out of fear for their lives. The real point is this: That recognition of the laws of the colonies, established by their own legislatures, was respected by Great Britain.
Later, by 1775, things had changed. So it was that when war broke out because the British had become increasingly heavy-handed, it was not, as the much later 2021 Epiphany Putsch attackers of the Capitol Building wrongly believed about American history, a sudden uprising of rebels. Not at all. The mislabeled American “Revolution” was a perfectly legal act, carried out within the Rule of Law to preserve the Rule of Law. Each Colonial Legislature, the actual legal authority in each colony by Royal Charter, agreed to appoint the Continental Congress, and each legislature sent their delegates to Philadelphia. It was in that lawfully constituted Congress that Independence from Great Britain was voted on quite properly, and in which it passed on July 2, 1776. It was publicly announced two days later on July 4, which we celebrate as Independence Day. In short, Parliament back in London, with the aid of the King, was guilty of violating the Rule of Law, all thirteen Colonial Charters, and empowering their soldiers to come to these shores and break those laws in any manner they chose. They usurped power over the properly established legal authorities, and therefore exercised tyranny.
But the Epiphany Putsch insurrectionists (and by definition that is the correct word to use for them) were nothing like the Founding Fathers. They acted in complete disregard for the Rule of Law. They had nothing in common with the people who fought in the war for American Independence. And they were the very opposite of patriots because they rejected the Rule of Law, even after the courts had properly ruled sixty-four times. They were actually terrorists at that point. And they were just as pathetic as those ridiculous organizations that proclaim themselves to be state militias despite the fact that no state has ever authorized any of them, and so they are not regulated, let alone “well regulated,” and so not really militias at all.
WHY ON THIS CHRISTIAN BLOG?
Some may ask why I am making this point about secular history on a blog about Continuing Anglicanism. What has it to do with our specific concerns? I will begin to answer by saying that nothing in life is, for us, entirely secular. If we are believers, God is always involved in our lives, the decisions we make, the values we hold, and especially in matters that touch on issues of morality and on peace among ourselves. Currently, in the United States, we face a new danger. In place of what was once an intellectually rigorous form of Conservative thought, possessing a willingness to hold debates, to express different opinions, and accept the outcome of elections within the Rule of Law with its reciprocal protection of Democracy, there is in this time a new brand of anti-intellectual Right-wing violence that dares to masquerade as “Patriotism.” But true patriotism for Americans is nothing if not respect for the Constitution and the order it maintains.
Far too many of our own people are being deceived by these efforts, efforts that consist of insane, and I say demonic, Conspiracy Theories, with calls for violence and a “new civil war.” Everyone who is too sane to be lulled into the mass hysteria of this paranoia is accused of being unpatriotic. The whole movement is largely fueled by a desire to throw away our cherished Rule of Law in favor of the rule of men, specifically of one man. A very real problem exists among us even in our own churches: People advocating violence against their fellow citizens.
“Then said Jesus unto him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Matt. 26:52).’”
It is demonic voices that call for blood and rage. Those who follow the Son of Man are forbidden to even entertain the thought of such things. Conservative thought has been replaced, on all the major outlets, by the “Chicken Little” New Right. Its message of a falling sky, with the evil bogeymen of socialism, gays, Muslims, immigrants (shudder), CRT, and “Jewish space-lasers,” etc., has created even within Christian circles the worst kind of fear, the kind that turns to hate.
“Perfect love casteth out fear (I John 4:18).”
“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:12).”
Unbelievers will do what unbelievers do. You are not called to fear the world, nor to take up arms for the Kingdom of God (John 18:36). You are called to be salt and light. Do not be one of those who hide their light, and among the salt that has lost its savor.