A Review: “Killing England”

A review of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing England.”

In a post-Christian America there is a movement to rid our nation of all vestiges of its Christian past.  Highlighting the sins of former Christian heroes enables them to do this.  Since early America was greatly influenced by the Christian Faith, many modern historians in our educational system (and entertainment industry) are beginning to target this period as a source of our racial and gender problems.

 

Bill O’Reilly has co-authored another book in his “Killing” series.  Killing England deals with the American Revolution.  O’Reilly is the former Fox News political commentator who was forced to resign because of sexual-harassment allegations.

O’Reilly is a Roman Catholic and thus tends to divide the world into the sacred and the secular.  The sacred is restricted to the mystical institutional church, and the secular, which includes politics, operates under the umbrella of reason.  He seems oblivious to the fact that reason always functions in the context of religious presuppositions.

The book seems rather timely today as we are witnessing the removal of many historical statutes and monuments across our land that not only represent military leaders of the South in the Civil War, but now extends to the monuments of some of our founding fathers.

In a post-Christian America there is a movement to rid our nation of all vestiges of its Christian past.  Highlighting the sins of former Christian heroes enables them to do this.  Since early America was greatly influenced by the Christian Faith, many modern historians in our educational system (and entertainment industry) are beginning to target this period as a source of our racial and gender problems.

History is being rewritten today. There is always value in revisiting our history, but modern historians seem bent on eradicating the positive influence of our founding fathers, who were mostly white Protestants.  Since Revolutionary history is being removed from our public schools (I gather this from public school teachers I know personally), this book is good reading for those who still believe that the American Revolution was important to the freedom we enjoy today.

O’Reilly does not white-wash the sins of our founding fathers.  He gives high marks to George Washington, and I think deservedly so.  Indeed, it was Washington who held together a rag-tag army in order to finally defeat the greatest fighting force in the world at the time.  He is presented as a praying man of high-morals. The deists Franklin and Jefferson, although highly esteemed by the authors, are not given a pass on their adulterous relationships.  He points out that Baron von Steuben was a homosexual.

O’Reilly mentions very little about the influence of Protestantism on America at the time of the Revolution. He mentions Rev. John Witherspoon once, and he seems to go out of his way to paint him in a very negative way.  As Witherspoon (the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence) was interviewing William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin, about his pro-Tory allegiance, Witherspoon reminded William that his was a “bastard,” i.e., born out of wedlock.  This is the only impression we are given of Rev. Witherspoon.

The book seems to make a point of being vividly descriptive of horrid situations, and maybe rightly so.  The appalling and disgusting details of the experience of war makes the reader appreciate the sacrifice of the men who fought.  If you want to know what the hanging of a man was really like, then you need to read the book.  It was hideous to see even though it was entertainment for the people near enough to travel to watch it.

Something not mentioned in the book, but that should be obvious to all is the fact that wars fought on the soil of the enemy will almost always be lost, regardless of the size and power of their military.  The authors unknowingly demonstrate this to be true in their attention given to Frances Marion (the Swamp Fox) of South Carolina. The only way to win a war on foreign soil is with a scorched-earth policy.  Whether or not you consider the colonists as just in their opposition to the British, the failure of England was to ignore this principle.  Even today, after Vietnam, America has yet to learn this lesson.

In an age of the deconstruction of history and the portrayal of biblical Christianity as detrimental to modern America, this book offers some sanity in preserving the history of the American Revolution. For non-historians like myself, it is a good read.

Larry E. Ball is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tennessee.