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The Cry of Sodom by Rev William Cook, July 7, 2016


The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (LCBOS) took up a resolution on Tuesday that would make June “LGBT Pride Month” in Loudoun County. Leesburg supervisor Kristen Umstattd introduced the proclamation, ostensibly in response to a fusillade of 30 emails (“an outcry”) from the local LGBT community in response to the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando night club. If accurately represented in WTOP reporter Michelle Bash’s June 24 article, Umstattd has conflated race and sexual preference in the dubious assumption that sexual preference, like skin color, is hereditary, as a basis for inferring that opposition to the measure is inhumane, uncharitable, and bigoted.

Evidently, the Leesburg supervisor’s concern for the lives of gay constituents does not extend to those who might die if her proclamation incites further attacks like the one in Orlando. Her manipulation of the Orlando tragedy to promote the fallacy that sexual preference is a civil right is scandalous.

The inducement to abandon evil, inherent in the emergence of a number of existential threats ­ over the past fifteen years—i.e. perpetual terrorism, an astronomical rise in the number of Sunni mosques in America (up from 1,000 in 2001 to 2,500 today), hostile regimes in possession of nuclear weapons, weakened military forces, national insolvency, porous borders, and ISIS-embedded flows of Syrian “refugees” into the United States—has been answered, not with self-examination and humility, but with obstinacy as voters in cities and towns across the Fruited Plain continue to empower dishonest, incompetent governors whose proclivity to enact policies that provoke Heaven’s ire, erode Liberty, and accelerate our national demise is intractable.

Danforth-book.jpgIn 1674, Puritan minister Samuel Danforth wrote and delivered the first known “execution sermon.” The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into, occasioned by the sentencing to death by hanging of Benjamin Goad, a young man from Danforth’s congregation at Roxbury, Massachusetts. Goad, who had been convicted of bestiality, specifically “copulation with a lady horse” (mare), had been caught in the act, out in the open, in broad daylight.

Preaching the sermon did not fall to Danforth as a last resort. Nor was Danforth’s discourse the petulant diatribe of a backwoods cleric, spouting empty shibboleths against sexual vice. He was keenly aware of the anguish of a parent over the loss of a child, for he had endured the loss of eight of his own children prior to Goad’s day of reckoning. The arduousness of delivering such a tragic polemic was amplified by the common knowledge that the condemned had been born into his congregation, and grown up under his pastoral tutelage.

http://america.pink/images/3/8/9/8/5/7/6/en/2-samuel-danforth.jpgDanforth.jpgDanforth was an esteemed member of the Danbury community. His reputation for integrity and command of the pulpit garnered the Massachusetts General Assembly’s invitation to deliver the annual election sermon in 1670. The discourse, A Brief Recognition of New-England’s Errand into the Wilderness, is considered one of the finest examples of the American Jeremiad (an oration or literary work reminiscent of the apocalyptic message of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah), alongside Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, preached in 1741 at the height of the Great Awakening, and John Winthrop's, A Model of Christian Charity, preached in 1630 on board the Arbella en route to Massachusetts Bay Colony.

A seventeenth-century “Renaissance man” of sorts, Danforth graduated from Harvard College in 1643, and tutored there until 1650. His theological studies were augmented with coursework in the natural science of Astronomy, which led to his publishing almanacs for 1647, 1648, and 1649. Included in the almanacs were Danforth’s own poetry, celestial tables, tide tables, calendars, dates of court sessions, and brief chronologies of significant events in New England history.

In his abstract prefacing Danforth’s discourse, editor Paul Royster of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln writes, “Danforth’s discourse describes the various practices associated with the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, including self-pollution (masturbation), whoredome (prostitution), adultery, fornication, incest, sodomy, buggery, and bestiality, and his text is replete with biblical examples. He defends the sentence of death as necessary for the preservation of the church and society. He applies the example made of the condemned to the need for general reformation among all the spectators, who share in man’s fallen and immoral nature: The gross and flagitious practises of the worst of men, are but Comments upon our Nature. Who can say, I have made my heart clean? The holiest man hath as vile and filthy a Nature, as the Sodomites, or the men of Gibeah. (p. 14)”

Before we liken Goad’s arraignment and execution to the drowning of ostensibly innocent New Englanders pursuant to accusations of witchcraft, we would do well to contemplate prevailing morays and jurisprudence in 17th century Massachusetts.

Eminent English common law authorities, Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), and after him Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), both agreed that sodomy from biblical days had always been a capital crime. English law had criminalized sodomy as early as 1533 during the reign of King Henry VIII. In commenting on the crimes of buggery and sodomy, Lord Coke noted that “the ancient authors doe conclude, that it deserveth death, ultimum supplicum…” Coke’s view prevailed throughout Blackstone’s era. Blackstone dubbed sodomy “the infamous crime against nature,” of “deeper malignity” than rape, and so heinous, “the very mention of [it being] a disgrace to human nature,” and “a crime not to be named.” It would be unfair to marginalize Danforth when his discourse expressed the prevailing view of contemporary jurisprudence and his spectators.

No one is advocating the death penalty for deeds Coke and Blackstone considered capital crimes. In in today’s pornographied culture, it is difficult to imagine jail time, much less execution, for any number of behaviors that would fall under the penumbra of debauchery. That horse left the stable so long ago that “Puritan,” a designation that once earned the imprimatur of a prestigious state legislature, and until the middle of the 20th century, the respect and admiration of the American people, is today an invective.

Why should a 17th century Puritan minister’s execution sermon matter to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (LCBOS), or for that matter, Loudoun residents? Simply because it expresses the immutable, biblical, and once ubiquitous ideology that birthed the freest, most prosperous, beneficent, and powerful nation in human history, and evinces a conviction that God had and would destroy a city or an entire nation if it degenerated into the moral concupiscence that left Sodom and Gomorrah in ashes. (Genesis 19)

As Americans and residents of Loudoun County, we would do well to ponder whether we are progressing as a culture, or wading into an abyss. Do we really want to discard the faith and morality that has held civil society together for 240 years, by granting protected status to behavior that until relatively recently was considered “not fit to be named?” What assurance do we find in the historical record that affirms our current moral trajectory?

I believe America has lost her moral compass, and in continuing to sin against great light, is careening toward national ruin. We can deny God’s existence, claim the Bible is a book of fables, and insist that a loving God would never send people to hell. We can claim the antediluvian flood, Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah (See Ancient Mysteries for archeological evidence about Sodom and Gomorrah), and the plagues of Egypt were allegories meant to inspire healthy fear and deter evil. But if we do, we had better be right, for the Bible is clear that each of us will have our day of reckoning—“For it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

Jesus said, “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” (Luke 12:2) He asked, “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) and said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Local governing bodies’ willingness to take up resolutions like Umstattd’s are usurping Divine prerogative and arrogating moral authority that belongs to God alone. Approval of the “LGBT Pride Month” proclamation will “cause little ones to stumble,” an offence for which the Christ promised the severest of eternal punishments, akin in this life to having a millstone tied around one’s neck and being tossed into a watery abyss (Matthew 18:6).

It is an outrage that any governing body would weaken the civil society and erode the general welfare, by entertaining bestowal of civil rights on a euphemism (“LGBT Pride Month”) for depravity.

Said Ronald Reagan, in my opinion the greatest president of my generation, “We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.” Will we allow this “last best hope of man” to suffer the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah? Whether fire and brimstone fall from heaven and incinerate America’s “alabaster cities” and “amber waves of grain” is uncertain. But what is certain is our individual and national destruction if we persist in justifying that which God abhors.

Rev. William Cook

Founder & Executive Director

Black Regiment of Virginia

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