In the old American educational institutions, before the ascent of the “Cancel Culture” & the “Wokeism Cult”, people were taught and some may remember this quote:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
These hallowed words begin one of the most enduring & influential documents in modern history, the American Declaration of Independence.
The lists of reasons & causes follow in a detailed explanation of why resistance was necessary and armed revolt was the end result. Yet with all of the atrocities being committed against those of early America, most Pastors and Christians today cannot honestly give you an answer as to whether the violent resistance against tyranny was just or justified.
I’ve asked Pastors & Ministers, laypeople and part time pew warmers, and most either cannot or will not commit an answer to the affirmative, it’s either a resounding no or I don’t know. Yet in times past liberty was often mixed with & often preached taught from the pulpit.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of Liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.
-Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835
“In every quiet little valley and sequestered nook in New England, the pastor had taught the doctrines of freedom, and preached the duty of resistance to oppression” (Headley, Joel Tyler, The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, New York: Scribner, 1854, pg.17).
We have lived to see the time when British liberty is just ready to expire—when the constitution of government which has so long been the glory and strength of the English nation is deeply undermined and ready to tumble into ruins—when America is threatened with cruel oppression and the arm of power is stretched out against New England, especially this colony, to compel us to submit to the arbitrary acts of legislators who are not our representatives, and who will not bear the least part of the burdens which, without mercy, they are laying upon us (Thornton, John Wingate. The Pulpit of the American Revolution: or the Political Sermons of the Period of 1776, Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1860, pg. 235).
Early did the first settlers of this country discover a due concern, a provident care for themselves and posterity, in making the best provisions in their power for safety and defense. No sooner was society formed and civil government established, but, even in their infant state, they made it their care to put the militia of the country upon a respectable footing (Kennedy, Dr. James, They Preached Liberty, FL: Coral Ridge Ministries, pg. 60).
There are hundreds if not thousands of quotes from the founders and others which can give a clear picture of where Christians stood and what their perception of a just struggle entailed. They understood the liberty we received from Christ was liberty from the oppression of sin, but they inculcated the ideas of liberty from tyranny with a fervor rarely seen in our day, understanding that tyrannical governments were also evil. Yes those early days still had the blight of slavery infecting America but those sins were paid for with over 600,000 people killed during the Civil War, all our nations collective sins can be and have been rectified either in wars or courts. Ours was a system designed where the majority wasn’t suppose to oppress the minority, but those checks & balances have been destroyed.
The liberty enshrined & codified in our founding documents allow freedom of religion to worship, also allowing ones choice not to be religious. Freedom of speech, of association, use of property, rights to seek a redress of grievances, the writ of habeas corpus, along with delegated authority & limited government, these and other rights are individual and enduring all generations. We need to recognize these rights as God given and should be defended through all legal means, and lastly through the use of organized force if necessary.
If we deny these rights & the rights the founders helped to establish & codify, then we do not deserve the liberty they secured for us.
So is resistance justified? I believe at times it is.