Power Mistresses

Harding had his Britton
Eisenhower his Kay
Roosevelt had Mercer
Clinton, a Rolodex babe a day

Kennedy had Marilyn
And Mary and Mimi too
And Judith and Priscilla
And God knows only who

The Kennedy men learned
The trade from Papa Joe
The Kennedy men treated women
Like a child fathered by Rosseau

LBJ had Helen Gahagan Douglas
And Alice Glass on the side
Poor Ladybird it seems
Was a pretty lonesome bride

Mr. Newt had Dot and Anne
And a girl in every p0rt
Callista was a mistress
Who cut his second marriage short

Why should Der Trumpster
Not ride these female storms?
Why not have a Stephanie Clifford?
Why should Melania be the norm?

In all this let the citizenry
Of this country be aware
If a man will cheat on his wife
His nation he will not spare


They’ve put stupid in our Water
Stupid in our air
Stupid in our salads
Stupid everywhere

Stupid in our garments
Stupid in our books
Stupid in our cosmetics
So we’re stupid in our looks

Stupid in our meds
Stupid in our cars
Stupid in our tobacco
Stupid served at bars

Stupid in our syrup
Stupid in all weather
Stupid in our bedding
We’re stupid altogether

Stupid in our pulpits
Stupid in our schools
Stupid at our Funerals
Stupid in our jewels

All glory to St. Stupid
Who gives us stupid rhymes
A saint hearing all our prayers
And a companion in our crimes

Winston Churchill… The Man Behind the Propaganda Mask

“In their own countries, FDR and Churchill are honored as embodiments of 
Statesman-like wisdom. To us, in our Russian prison conversations, their consistent shortsightedness and stupidity stood out as astonishingly obvious.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

During the 2018 Academy awards, Gary Oldman was given an Oscar for “Best Actor” for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film “Darkest Hour.” “Darkest Hour’ was also nominated for Best Picture and so must be considered one of the top flight films of the year.  Just a couple years prior to the release of “Darkest Hour,” the putative conservative President of Hillsdale College released “Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.” Very few  manage to  mention Churchill’s appetites,

“Once the American Philanthropist (Bernard Baruch) had ordered up three redheads from the local cat house for the virile English politician  (Churchill): before delivering them that Thursday the Madam had to concoct one with dye; fortunately her color remained until the return to the base on Monday.”

David Irving 
Churchill‘s War — Vol. 1, pg. 117

It is my contention that both the film and Arn’s work is but the continuation of the Churchill propaganda and mythos that has been so characteristic of the last 80 years. Both the film and Arn’s fiction continue the hagiography and balderdash mysticism that surrounds not only Sir Winston Churchill but the whole era between 1914 and 1945. This short post intends to expose the propaganda, blow away the mystic aura and put the lie to the constant hagiography surrounding Churchill.

The fact that Hollywood so championed “Darkest Hour” may suggest that the mask is slipping and so yet another Mickey must be slipped to the grazers in order to keep them in line. Arn’s book is just embarrassing as it steps around the most obvious of facts in order to keep Sir Winnie afloat.

Recently, the same President Arn of putatively conservative Hillsdale college wrote me letting me know how pleased he was over an interview he had done with Oscar Winning Gary Oldman.

Dear Mr. McAtee,

I want to let you know that my friend Gary Oldman recently won the Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Leading Role.” His portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film Darkest Hour is one of the best I have seen.

Last December, Gary Oldman and producer Douglas Urbanski visited Hillsdale College for a screening and panel discussion about the film’s production and significance. One of Gary’s memorable lines—“If Winston Churchill could take on Adolf Hitler at 65, I could sit in a makeup chair for three and a half hours.”

Warm regards,

Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College

I, of course, responded to Dr. Arn,

Dear Larry,

Winston Churchill was one of the greatest villains of the 20th century. A man truly to be despised by anybody with merely a scintilla of a Christian ethos. However, he did have the advantage of living at a time when he could be compared to Stalin, Roosevelt, and Hitler.

Remember Yalta. Remember the forced repatriation of the White Russians.

Rev. Bret McAtee

In this column, I want to give the reasons why I wrote to Larry in such a fashion. I want to give just a brief insight into the Winston Churchill whom the hagiography fails to honestly present. I believe history bears out that Churchill, along with Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo was a figure that was to be despised. I believe history bears out Churchill has a cautionary tale that proves that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The fact that anyone can believe that Winston Churchill was one of the greatest men of the 20th century is proof positive of the effectiveness of propaganda. Churchill was an absolute beast who in his 50 years in public office was the man most responsible for the loss of the British Empire and the decline of England.

“In fighting Hitler, Britain would quintuple her prewar debt, forfeit her world position, bring the Red Army to the Elbe, and collapse her Empire. But we know now from captured documents that despite all the saber-rattling Hitler probably never intended to invade.”

David Irving 
Churchill‘s War  Vol. 1, pg. 378

During the run-up to World War I Churchill could write his wife,

“My Darling,

Everything tends towards catastrophe and collapse. I am interested, geared up and happy. Is it not horrible to be built like that?

Winston Churchill 
Writing to his wife
On the cusp of WW I

One year later Churchill writes someone else,

“Why, I would not be out of this glorious, delicious war for anything the world could give me.”

Churchill was the man, along with Roosevelt, at Yalta, who effectively ended Christendom in Europe by turning over 100 million Eastern European Christians to the Christ-hating Bolsheviks. Indeed, Churchill with his presentation of a priceless Crusader sword to Josef Stalin at the Tehran conference in 1943 provided the definitional standard for obscene.

That he was obscene was seen throughout his career. For example, Churchill was the man who ordered the slaughter of civilians as from the air via the firebombing of civilian homes.

Churchill … was he who initiated the bombing of cities and civilians outside of battle zones. His objective was to force the Nazis to retaliate in kind and relieve pressure on the British airfields which, as legitimate war targets, were being badly hit. Actually, the bombing of German cities, reports Benjamin Colby, as attested by official British histories, began nearly four months before any bombs fell on London, and the blitz itself was deliberately encouraged Prime Minister Churchill.

One stands in horror at the callousness with which Churchill invited the suffering of the British people. For example, the second great fire-bombing of London and the disastrous losses at Coventry were permitted despite the breaking of the German code, providing foreknowledge of the raids.”

William P. Hoar
Architects of Conspiracy: An Intriguing History — pg. 242-243

Keep in mind that it was British bombing policy to bomb middle-class residential areas vis-a-vis more wealthy residential areas because middle-class homes were more densely collected and were made of material that more easily burned. One could get more bang per bomb by bombing German middle-class residential areas.

“At the same time … Sir Arthur Harris’s bomber crews were being briefed for their first major fire-raising attack on a German town, the medieval port of Lubeck on the Baltic. In every such raid, as Sir Charles Portal had directed, the aiming point would be the town’s ancient — and combustible — residential heart, and not its factories or war installations. That night, March 28, the conflagrations in Lubeck totally gutted the city centre, and killed several hundred of its citizens…. Churchill asked the air ministry to do what it could to increase the the weight of bombs actually dropped on German cities.”

David Irving
Churchill‘s War, V. II, p. 372

And we would do well to keep in mind that it was Churchill, as between Germany and England, who started the bombing of cities,

It was Winston Churchill who initiated the bombings of civilian cities outside of battle zones … long before the Nazis hit London. Indeed, Churchill‘s objective was to force the Nazis to retaliate in kind and so relieve pressure on the British airfields which, as legitimate war targets, were being badly hit.

“Actually the bombing of German cities as attested by official British histories, began nearly four months before any bombs fell on London, and the Blitz itself was deliberately encouraged by Prime Minister Churchill.” (Benjamin Colby ‘Twas a Famous Victory’)

If firebombing defenseless refugees and Germans wouldn’t do the trick (total deaths Dresden alone = 130,000)  Churchill even toyed with the idea of dropping anthrax cakes all over Germany to deindustrialize and depopulate the Hun’s Deutsch-land.

Prior to the firebombings of Dresden, and Hamburg, Kassel, etc. it was Churchill who was in charge of 142,000 Allied casualties in the slaughter of the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli campaign. Churchill’s Sea policy during WW I was to fire on white flags so as to ram German submarines which had surfaced. The German subs surfaced in order to be merciful to passengers of ships who they could have just blown out of the water. Churchill gave orders to shoot German naval personnel who were floundering in the sea after their subs had been rammed in a German act of Christian forbearance.

“Churchill’s sea policy was simply outrageous and included advocacy of firing on white flags and shooting prisoners when convenient. British merchant vessels were also instructed to ram submarines if they surfaced in a humanitarian effort to allow merchant passengers to disembark. It thus became folly for German subs to surface, lose the advantage of surprise, and endanger their own crews. In fact when one U-boat captain did just that — surfaced and allowed passengers to leave a British ship — he was approached by another British ship named Baralong, flying the U.S. flag, and sunk The Baralong crew then turned on German seamen floundering in the water and brutally shot as many as were in sight.” (Architects of Conspiracy — William P. Hoar)

So cynical was Churchill that he referred to the Lusitania as “just another 45,000 tons of live bait.” Churchill used the Lusitania as bait for German subs in hopes that the sinking of such vessels with American passengers while transporting illegal munitions would be a casus belli for American entry into World War I.

Questions surround whether or not Prime Minister Churchill knew beforehand of the planned murder of Polish Prime Minister in exile General Sikorski because Sikorski desired to expose the Soviet responsibility for the Katyn forest massacre.  The Polish leader in exile during WW II had discovered how the Soviets murdered 15K Polish officers in the Katyn forest and soon enough Eden is talking about “beating up” Sikorski since Sikorski’s complaining is threatening the British – Soviet alliance. Soon afterward Sikorski’s British flown jet goes down killing Sikorski and his daughter and his whole retinue. Only the pilot survived.

Churchill was responsible for the policy that was called “Operation Keelhaul” supporting the forced return of numerable anti-communist Cossacks, White Russians, and others whom Stalin had absolutely no rightful claim upon.

See, “The Last Secret”, by Nicholas Bethell and “The Secret Betrayal” by Nikolai Tolstoy.

Churchill was a constant and unmitigated drunkard who struggled with his “Black Dog,” and so should have been committed to an Asylum for the chemically dependent.

Churchill had failed to down more than one whiskey-and-soda before the meal began, and ‘therefore, according to the president, was morose and cross all through the dinner.’Like other chronic alcoholics deprived of their sustenance, Winston became first glum, then sullen, then downright rude ….

Irving – Churchill‘s War; V. II, pg. 684

The fact that for 80 years the International media has been able to convince you that Churchill (as well as FDR) was some kind of great man makes me wonder if the Truth will ever out.

Churchill’s praise for wretched and bloodthirsty men is well known. On Stalin, he could offer,

It was an experience of great interest to me to meet Premier Stalin … It is very fortunate for Russia in her agony to have this great rugged war chief at her head. He is a man of massive outstanding personality, suited to the somber and stormy times in which his life has been cast; a man of inexhaustible courage and will-power and a man direct and even blunt in speech… Above all, he is a man with that saving sense of humor which is of high importance to all men and all nations, but particularly to great men and great nations. Stalin also left upon me the impression of a deep, cool wisdom and a complete absence of illusions of any kind. I believe I made him feel that we were good and faithful comrades in this war …

Winston Churchill 

“Stalin is the one human being in Russia…. Stalin always kept his word.”

Winston Churchill 
Churchill‘s War – Vol. 1 — pg. vii

“Well, thank God you’ve set my mind at rest! I loathe Trotsky, and I’ve been following his activities for a long time. I considered him the evil genius of Russia. I am all for Stalin’s politics. He is creating a powerful Russia, and that’s what we need — more than anything.”

Winston Churchill

David Irving 
Churchill‘s War — Vol. 1, pg. 101

Speaking to Mussolini Churchill said,

“If I had been an Italian, I am sure I should have been whole-heartedly with you from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.”

A younger Churchill noted that when concentration camps were built in South Africa, for white Boers, that they produced “the minimum of suffering.” The Boer women and children would doubtlessly have disagreed. 

Churchill had no problem with suffering as seen in his political starvation of a portion of the Indian subcontinent (Bengal) where estimates range he was responsible for the starvation deaths of 1-4 million people by purposely exporting grain from the region to keep that grain from falling into the hands of the Japanese. But as Churchill hated the Indians this very well could have been an easy decision.

“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

Winston Churchill

Irving; Churchill‘s War V. II, pg. 563

The suffering that Churchill was concerned about was the suffering of his popularity.

Churchill was deeply concerned about his popularity … He brought out bulging albums with all the press clippings about him. According to another newspaperman, there was even a chart displayed at No. 10 recording the levels of applause when newsreels of him were shown at cinemas.”

David Irving
“Churchill‘s War,” V. II, pg. 506

Winston Churchill as a great hero of the West is a completely fabricated myth. The man’s main principle was the glorification of his person no matter what contradictory principles had to be embraced in order to advance his name. If anything he was a Fabian Socialist per his early attachment to  Sidney and Beatrice Webb. The Webbs described Churchill as the most progressive politician of his age.  

Historian Eric Keunhult Leddihn gives this description,

“Mr. Churchill, as we have pointed out, was not a genuine conservative, but a pragmatist and Deist of a certain aristocratic cast, of a terrifying cynicism and astounding ignorance concerning most countries. Nevertheless, he was very gifted by nature in many ways but a comparatively poor schooling; He never was a student of anything. His biography, Mr. Robert Sencourt, said that to him, “Christ was a socialist” and ‘men who had principles were ‘goody goodies,….’ He seized one of the greatest occasions in history and gradually turn it into a calamity for Europe and a triumph for America.”

When WWII came to an end, Great Britain was a socialist country. British socialism was not an achievement of Mr. Clement Attlee’s Labor Government, but that of the war cabinet of Sir Winston Churchill.
Consistent with the Fabianism that Churchill was attached to early on in his career Churchill was and always remained “a man of the state: of the welfare state and of the warfare state.” Churchill was a soft Socialist.

Churchill’s character also included bias against Arabs in favor Jews

“Churchill testified to the Peel Commission on March 12, 1937. His startling proposal was that all Palestine be turned over to the Jews. He spoke of their right to immigrate and Britain’s ‘good faith’ toward them.

When Peel’s deputy Sir Horace Rumbold spoke of the injustice done to the Arabs by this invasion of a ‘foreign race,’ Churchill expressed outrage at that phrase, then offered a novel concept of ‘just invasions’ of which the incumbents of Berlin’s Wilhelmstrasse might have been proud:

‘Why is there harsh injustice done if people can come in and make a livelihood for more, and make the desert into palm groves and orange groves? Why is it injustice because there is more work and wealth for everybody? There is no injustice. The injustice is when those who live in the country leave it to be desert for thousands of years.’

As for the ‘invasion,’ it was the Arabs who had come in after the Jews, he maintained, and they had allowed the Jewish hill terraces to decay. ‘Where the Arab goes’ he generalized, ‘it is often desert.’

David Irving 
Churchill‘s War — Vol. 1, pg. 84

But what was the reason for this Churchillian favor of Jewish interests that impacted more than the policy on Palestine? David Irving tells us in his work,

Churchill owed such a debt to the Anglo-Jewish community from 1936 on that Sir Samuel Hoare would describe his ‘pro-Zionist attitude’ as a black mark against his possible premiership, and another acquaintance would tell Sir Martin Gilbert, the biographer, that ‘Winston was too fond of Jews.”

David Irving 
Churchill‘s War — Vol. II, pg. xii

If one wants to follow this thread they need to look into the connection between Churchill and “the Focus,” as well as his connection to Sir Henry Strakosch.

It should be noted that Sir Winston Churchill, like a stopped clock, could be occasionally correct, and for that, he should be given credit. Churchill was correct when he wrote,

“There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution, by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews, it is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders.”

Churchill was correct when he said,

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”

We believe that Churchill, as recorded by David Irving,  was correct when he noted,

“(Churchill) added that he himself found it hard to believe in either world harmony or the deliberate mixing of the races — now known as ‘multiculturalism’; he compared the latter with the result of ‘mixing together the paints in a child’s paintbox’ as Dowding recorded.”

Irving — Churchill‘s War — V. II, pg. 152

So we gladly concede that Churchill was not always in error. There were times when Churchill could be spot on in his observations. That Churchill excelled at rhetoric (even when he had pinched and plagiarized his lines from someone else). I think it can be honestly affirmed that he threw the English Dictionary into the war effort.

But that he was a dangerous and even maniacal man was understood by
Churchill’s contemporaries as understood by the Patriarch of the Kennedy family who was then serving as US Ambassador to England,

 “US Ambassador to England Joseph Kennedy knew how desperately Churchill wanted the US in WW II on the side of Britain. Churchill had made comments hoping that the inevitable Nazi air massacres might draw the US into the war. Kennedy telegraphed his US superiors at one point saying, “it appears to me that there is a feeling that if British women and children are killed… the US will tend more towards their side.”

Sometime after this “Kennedy left from Lisbon on the Manhattan in transit to New York. Before boarding the luxury liner he pleaded with the State Department to announce that even if this vessel mysteriously blew up in the mid-Atlantic with an American ambassador on board Washington would not consider it cause for war.

‘I thought,’ wrote Kennedy in his scurrilous unpublished memoirs, ‘that would give me some protection against Churchill‘s placing a bomb on the ship.'”

David Irving 
Churchill‘s War — pg. 193, 207 

If Winston Churchill was some kind of hero then so was Jack the Ripper.

In My Study

In the quiet of my study
Amongst the presence of my books
No irrationality is spat at me
And I endure no dirty looks

No loopy theories make advance
Illogic does not endure
The stupid do not dance
There is no company with the boor

In the quiet of my study
The world makes perfect sense
The waters are not muddy
Investment brings recompense

But life is not a study
It’s messy and nonlinear
It’s broken and it’s bloody
And the irrational has no fear

So, I try to marry life and study
Doing the best I can
But the return is typically cruddy
And failure more than planned

Ask the Pastor … Guns in Church?

Dear Pastor Bret,

In light of recent tragic church shootings, should churches consider having members carry concealed weapons to church?

Thanks in advance,

Shawn Channing

Dear Shawn,

Thanks for writing.

I will answer this question in terms of the laws of the State of Michigan. In Michigan, Shawn, those with a concealed carry license cannot carry on any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other places of worship, unless the presiding official allows concealed weapons. So, in Michigan, one can legally according to Michigan state law conceal carry in Church if one has secured the presiding official’s permission.

Some would counsel to consult law enforcement for expert advice and perhaps even training for those who desire it before the presiding official allows such carry and I would concur with that as long as it was only one factor in the decision-making process. People must realize that law-enforcement officials could well have an interest in making sure only they are the ones carrying weapons.  All because someone is in law-enforcement doesn’t make them singularly able to provide counsel on this decision. The decision process should also realize that a Church that is declared as a gun-free zone is a church that is advertising to potential wolves that the gathering of the saints is also a gathering of easy picking sheep. The decision process should also include considering the many recent church shootings where the mortality rate may have been far lower if someone in the congregation where the shootings occurred had begun shooting back at the sociopaths who were discharging their weapons against judicially innocent church-goers.

Secondly, common sense teaches that owning and carrying a gun is a reasonable means of protection. A recent Pew survey reported that two-thirds of American gun owners cite protection as the major reason they own guns. Now, Shawn, some well-intended but misguided people might somehow extrapolate that Pew survey to mean that people are relying on guns as idols instead of relying on God for protection. Such thinking is most unfortunate. Carrying a weapon no more proves that one is not trusting in God than carrying a chainsaw proves that someone who wants a tree cut down is not trusting in God for the tree to come down. Carrying a weapon no more proves that one is not trusting in God than a Chef carrying a frying pan proves that the Chef is not trusting God for the meal to be prepared. A gun is a tool, much like a chainsaw or a frying pan. Having the proper tool for the proper job that might need to be done should not inch us towards concluding that the one carrying a chainsaw, a frying pan, or a gun, is treating that tool as an idol. Such reasoning is quite beyond suspect. American gun owners carry guns because that is one tool God has provided in order to to be protected.

Another truth we might offer here Shaun is that guns do not create the problems they solve. The problems guns solve are men with wicked hearts who wish to bring harm to us, our friends, or our families. Guns don’t create sociopaths who might well show up in Church to do harm. Guns are just one solution to sociopaths who might well show up in Church to do harm.

We should be a people who rely on God as we rely on more potential shooters as the solution to a potential active shooter situation. If we don’t rely on God this way we should seriously examine our hearts to ensure that we have not misplaced our faith by trusting in God in such a way that doesn’t include using all the tools that He has put at our disposal for safety. We need to be careful that we don’t become the butt of that well-known joke,

“Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this, the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this, the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

If we refuse to carry weapons to Church and end up getting shot by sociopaths in Church God may well reply to us upon our discussing the matter face to face with him,

“I sent you a Ruger, a Smith & Wesson, and a Glock, what more did you expect?”

Scripture clearly teaches that self-defense is biblically set forth (Exodus 22:2-3). To insist that one should not make provision to defend themselves so they might instead just trust God is its own kind of specious idolatry.

Finally, on this score, we should consider our history on guns in Church. There is a long storied history of guns in Church that even found, at times in history, guns be required by force of law to be carried to Church. In her book, ‘The Sabbath in Puritan New England,’ we learn this from author Alice Morse Earl,

“For many years after the settlement of New England the Puritans, even in outwardly tranquil times, went armed to meeting; and to sanctify the Sunday gun-loading they were expressly forbidden to fire off their charges at any object on that day save an Indian or a wolf, their two “greatest inconveniencies.” Trumbull, in his “Mac Fingal,” writes thus in jest of this custom of Sunday arm-bearing:–

“So once, for fear of Indian beating,
Our grandsires bore their guns to meeting,–
Each man equipped on Sunday morn
With psalm-book, shot, and powder-horn,
And looked in form, as all must grant,
Like the ancient true church militant.”

In 1640 it was ordered in Massachusetts that in every township the attendants at church should carry a “competent number of peeces, fixed and compleat with powder and shot and swords every Lords-day to the meeting-house;” one armed man from each household was then thought advisable and necessary for public safety. In 1642 six men with muskets and powder and shot were thought sufficient for protection for each church. In Connecticut similar mandates were issued, and as the orders were neglected “by divers persones,” a law was passed in 1643 that each offender should forfeit twelve pence for each offence. In 1644 a fourth part of the “trayned hand” was obliged to come armed each Sabbath, and the sentinels were ordered to keep their matches constantly lighted for use in their match-locks. They were also commanded to wear armor, which consisted of “coats basted with cotton-wool, and thus made defensive against Indian arrows.” In 1650 so much dread and fear were felt of Sunday attacks from the red men that the Sabbath-Day guard was doubled in number. In 1692, the Connecticut Legislature ordered one fifth of the soldiers in each town to come armed to each meeting, and that nowhere should be present as a guard at time of public worship fewer than eight soldiers and a sergeant. In Hadley the guard was allowed annually from the public treasury a pound of lead and a pound of powder to each soldier.

No details that could add to safety on the Sabbath were forgotten or overlooked by the New Haven church; bullets were made common currency at the value of a farthing, in order that they might be plentiful and in every one’s possession; the colonists were enjoined to determine in advance what to do with the women and children in case of attack, “that they do not hang about them and hinder them;” the men were ordered to bring at least six charges of powder and shot to meeting; the farmers were forbidden to “leave more arms at home than men to use them;” the half-pikes were to be headed and the whole ones mended, and the swords “and all piercing weapons furbished up and dressed;” wood was to be placed in the watch-house; it was ordered that the “door of the meeting-house next the soldiers’ seat be kept clear from women and children sitting there, that if there be occasion for the soldiers to go suddenly forth, they may have free passage.” The soldiers sat on either side of the main door, a sentinel was stationed in the meeting-house turret, and armed watchers paced the streets; three cannon were mounted by the side of this “church militant,” which must strongly have resembled a garrison. …

In spite of these events in the New Haven church (which were certainly exceptional), the seemingly incongruous union of church and army was suitable enough in a community that always began and ended the military exercises on “training day” with solemn prayer and psalm-singing; and that used the army and encouraged a true soldier-like spirit not chiefly as aids in war, but to help to conquer and destroy the adversaries of truth, and to “achieve greater matters by this little handful of men than the world is aware of.”

The Salem sentinels wore doubtless some of the good English armor owned by the town,–corselets to cover the body; gorgets to guard the throat; tasses to protect the thighs; all varnished black, and costing each suit “twenty-four shillings a peece.” The sentry also wore a bandileer, a large “neat’s leather” belt thrown over the right shoulder, and hanging down under the left arm. This bandileer sustained twelve boxes of cartridges, and a well-filled bullet-bag. Each man bore either a “bastard musket with a snaphance,” a “long fowling-piece with musket bore,” a “full musket,” a “barrell with a match-cock,” or perhaps (for they were purchased by the town) a leather gun (though these leather guns may have been cannon). Other weapons there were to choose from, mysterious in name, “sakers, minions, ffaulcons, rabinets, murthers (or murderers, as they were sometimes appropriately called) chambers, harque-busses, carbins,” …

The armed Salem watcher, besides his firearms and ammunition, had attached to his wrist by a cord a gun-rest, or gun-fork, which he placed upon the ground when he wished to fire his musket, and upon which that constitutional kicker rested when touched off. He also carried a sword and sometimes a pike, and thus heavily burdened with multitudinous arms and cumbersome armor, could never have run after or from an Indian with much agility or celerity; though he could stand at the church-door with his leather gun,–an awe-inspiring figure,–and he could shoot with his “harquebuss,” or “carbin,” as we well know.

These armed “sentinells” are always regarded as a most picturesque accompaniment of Puritan religious worship, and the Salem and Plymouth armed men were imposing, though clumsy. But the New Haven soldiers, with their bulky garments wadded and stuffed out with thick layers of cotton wool, must have been more safety-assuring and comforting than they were romantic or heroic; but perhaps they too wore painted tin armor, “corselets and gorgets and tasses.”

In Concord, New Hampshire, the men, who all came armed to meeting, stacked their muskets around a post in the middle of the church, while the honored pastor, who was a good shot and owned the best gun in the settlement, preached with his treasured weapon in the pulpit by his side, ready from his post of vantage to blaze away at any red man whom he saw sneaking without, or to lead, if necessary, his congregation to battle. The church in York, Maine, until the year 1746, felt it necessary to retain the custom of carrying arms to the meeting-house, so plentiful and so aggressive were Maine Indians.

Not only in the time of Indian wars were armed men seen in the meeting-house, but on June 17, 1775, the Provincial Congress recommended that the men “within twenty miles of the sea-coast carry their arms and ammunition with them to meeting on the Sabbath and other days when they meet for public worship.” And on many a Sabbath and Lecture Day, during the years of war that followed, were proved the wisdom and foresight of that suggestion.

The men in those old days of the seventeenth century, when in constant dread of attacks by Indians, always rose when the services were ended and left the house before the women and children, thus making sure the safe exit of the latter. This custom prevailed from habit until a late date in many churches in New England, all the men, after the benediction and the exit of the parson, walking out in advance of the women. So also the custom of the men always sitting at the “head” or door of the pew arose from the early necessity of their always being ready to seize their arms and rush unobstructed to fight. In some New England village churches to this day, the man who would move down from his end of the pew and let a woman sit at the door, even if it were a more desirable seat from which to see the clergyman, would be thought a poor sort of a creature.”

Alice Morse Earle, The Sabbath in Puritan New England (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 19-25.