Patrick Henry

Defender of the Baptists

Patrick Henry was not a Baptist, but he was a great friend to Baptists and to our country. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Virginia Militia and a member of the Continental Congress, the Virginia General Assembly and House of Burgesses and was involved in writing the Constitution of Virginia. He holds the distinction of being the only Governor in U.S. history to be elected five times as Governor of his State.

One of the events he is famous for was his courtroom defense of three Baptist preachers. Prior to the Revolution, in 1768, Patrick rode many miles on horseback to a trial in Spotsylvania Co., Virginia. He entered the courtroom where three Baptist ministers were being tried for preaching the gospel without approval of the Episcopalian church. In the midst of the proceedings he interrupted; “May it please your lordships, what did I hear read? Did I hear an expression that these men, whom you worships are about to try for misdemeanor, are charged with preaching the gospel of the Son of God?” The preachers were released.

Some claim our country was not founded on Christianity. However, you could not convince Patrick Henry of such a fallacy. He boldly declared, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

Written by Doug Hammett