Impact After the Revolution

“The Revolutionaries” is the seventh segment in The Courage of Your Faith series. What is meant by separation of church and state? What implications does that have today?

After the Revolutionary War, states faced the need to set up their own governments. Most leaders felt a Christian population was required for good government. Men like Patrick Henry wanted the new Virginia government to impose a tax that would be distributed to all teachers of the Christian religion. This bill would have passed had Baptists not opposed it, taking the stand that a separation of church and state was required.

This idea was so important to them that Baptist John Leland had a “secret” meeting with James Madison concerning the new Constitution of the United States. It was held east of the City of Orange. Baptists would not support the new Constitution unless there was an amendment guaranteeing separation of church and state. Without Baptist support, Madison would not be sent to the Constitutional Convention from Virginia. If Virginia had not voted to accept the Constitution, other states would have followed suit. And the United States would have never have been. A park commemorates this meeting. In the park is a monument to Leland and Madison. The words on the monument are here.

Life in a Forecastle

When Ann found herself on the deck of the Christopher Mitchell, she was ordered to the fo’cstle. How was she to know that the Mate meant the forecastle…and that the forecastle was under the foredeck of the ship?

Imagine being forcefully directed to a box-like structure (the companionway) covering the entrance to a compartment cloaked in darkness. You peer down into the black space and are just able to see where the bottom of the steep ladder ends on the floor about five feet down. Everything else is covered in a lightless gloom. Tossing in your one bag containing all your worldly possessions, you turn and climb down backwards.

As your head approaches the opening in the deck, the rank fumes of sweat, vomit, and dead fish wends its way up into your nose so that you even taste the foul air. Though you fight to keep your head up and in the fresh air, you are told to move on in. Turning you step into the shadows of a hovel from hell, and your head smashes into an overhead beam. As you walk further in, you hunch over. When your eyes become somewhat adjusted to the darkness, the light from the forecastle companionway reveals the vague outlines of 16 bunks—four upper and four lower along the port and starboard sides. Bags and trunks litter the deck along these bunks. You choose an available berth.

Now that you can see a little better, you look around…no portholes, and no means of ventilation other than the hatch. What will it be like when the companionway is shut, you wonder, and then you add 15 men. It’s steady now in port, but what happens when the ship gyrates up and down, back and forth, over ocean swells? You groan when you realize this is your home for the next three years.