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A tale of two imperial Georges

Rev. Jack Van Ens

Long ago on the Galilean shores, the True Patriot, Lord over all lords and King over all kings, spun a story. He told a woeful tale.An island nation grew an empire so grand that the sun never set upon it. Royalty ascended the British throne in 1760. This potentate took unto himself the name of a power known far and wide throughout the empire as King George III. His mother loathed weakness. She admired strength. George tried to heed his mother’s wishes that he be a king before whom all terror fled.George assumed a divine right to rule. Didn’t God direct his steps? George titled himself a “patriot king,” as he liked to be remembered. Feeling a stubborn sense of responsibility, he wanted to protect his homeland from terrorist threat. He felt compelled to meet terror on its own turf. With single-minded ardor, George hated unpatriotic rabble-rousers who ignited disorder in America. The patriot king was too certain of his good ends to question his bad means of spreading liberty far and wide. Whatever it took to terrorize terror, he OK’d it.In 1763, King George III declared with grand bravado “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” in the war against terror. After winning the Seven Years War against Indian and French terrorists in America, George reigned over an empire world without end. He wielded undisputed power with his armies and navies dominating lands from India to the mighty Mississippi River. William Strahan, a Scottish-born printer in London who befriended Benjamin Franklin, offered a cool assessment of George, saying he showed virtuous resolve but lacked any “striking talents.”Though royal coffers swelled, George needed more money to oil the gears of the mighty empire’s machine. Terrorism did not die out in the new land. It sported different faces. Though George assured his minions that war had ceased after signing the Treaty of Paris, he hinted that troops must cross the Atlantic for several years to keep law and order.Lord Jeffrey Amherst, commander in chief of Redcoats in North America, estimated that he needed 10,000 soldiers to keep peace in a land rife with terrorists. French settlers in Quebec hated the Redcoats. Indians siding with the French acted like marauders, scalping and beheading Christians. Unlicensed squatters, smugglers of armaments and bandits who preyed on civilized folk plagued the earth.The True Patriot mentioned lesser lights who perfectly reflected his light. “I am the light of the world,” he declared. “He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” John 8:12. As the moon reflects the sun, so American patriots Franklin and Jefferson, who George judged unpatriotic, shone brightly in the True Patriot’s light. Franklin described life as a chess match. King George III evidently lacked skill when playing the game. “Life is a game of chess,” observed Franklin while on a mission in France, “in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it.”George lacked prudence and caution, judged the True Patriot. Where was his awareness of another culture’s values? He lacked the caution victorious chess players display.George unctuously believed in military power, the gear-greasing success. He desired to stamp the colonies into submission. They arose with vengeance from wooded hideouts and camouflaged bridges. Such patriots struck terror among the Redcoats. No royal lineage defined these freedom fighters. By day they walked Redcoat-patrolled streets as shopkeepers, humble printers, master mechanics and salt-of-the-earth citizens. By night they rose up as terrorists to salt the earth with violence, an earth that had lost its savor because King George heavily taxed the colonials. These colonial terrorists did not regard themselves as such. They hailed themselves as Sons of Liberty. Striking terror, they hung effigies of bloated British warlords, forced resignations from those enforcing the Stamp Act, developed clandestine espionage rings and torched Redcoat dens of oppression. They terrorized the land so terribly that Pennsylvania’s governor cried, “We are not more than one degree from open rebellion.” Jefferson, a man after the True Prophet’s own heart, prophesied that Redcoat terror enslaved true patriots. He ascribed “single acts of tyranny … to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably thro’ every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.” The Sons of Liberty would die to their last man. They would hold out until the last musket discharged. Of their terror there would be no end. They chose death over George’s harsh plan to subjugate them.Franklin loved to spin parodies to tell the truth. He wrote tongue-in-cheek, as did Jonathan Swift in his parody against evil called “A Modest Proposal.” Franklin relished demolishing an enemy with an indirect literary hit. Writing in “Pacifus” in the English press, Franklin proposed in 1766 how to violently resolve the Stamp Act crisis. Britain must stamp out terrorism using overwhelming military force, even if it meant cutting the throats of women and children and razing their shops. “No Man in his Wits, after such a terrible Military Execution, will refuse to purchase stamp’d Paper,” Franklin concluded tongue-in-cheek. “If any one should hesitate, five or six hundred lashes in a cold frosty Morning would bring him to reason.” Franklin assumed no one would take seriously his literary joshing. But George III did. Has a second George – who acts like a patriot king, too – blundered similarly? The Rev. Jack R. Van Ens is a Presbyterian minister who heads the nonprofit, tax-exempt Creative Growth Ministries, enhancing Christian worship through lively storytelling and dramatic presentations. As Jonathan Edwards, Van Ens leads worship at the Dillon Community Church on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. He returns to the church at 6 p.m. portraying both Edwards and Thomas Jefferson as they debate who Jesus really is.Vail, Colorado


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