Lovers of Truth and Lovers of Lies: Seeing New Lessons for Today in Mel Gibson’s Iconic Portrayal of ‘The Patriot’
By Joe Hof
Lovers of Truth and Lovers of Lies: Seeing new lessons for today in Mel Gibson’s iconic portrayal of ‘The Patriot’
Guest post by Leo Hohmann
Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. –John 14:17
I intended to take a much-needed Christmas respite between December 25 and January 2. I got my week off, all right, but it was not exactly within those parameters and nothing like I expected.
On December 21, I encountered headaches and fevers, which morphed into a stomach bug that had me down for the count. One sleepless night turned into three and then four.
But while my body suffered, I found my spirit quickened. God had my attention like maybe He hadn’t had in a while. Sometimes, in the fog of war, and we are in a war, you start to lose perspective and can get temporarily disoriented. That was me.
So I needed that time, shivering under the covers, alone. The hours seemed like days, the days passed like weeks. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas.
Then, on the second day after Christmas, the fevers broke. A cloud lifted. It seemed as if God was saying: “Wake up from your slumber son. Wipe the grit and grime from your eyes, remove the dross, and get ready to see some things with a fresh outlook and renewed clarity.”
So I arose from my sick bed at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27, and did something I hadn’t done in days. I ate something. I toasted a slice of sour-dough bread, buttered it, and devoured it. I made a pot of coffee and thanked Him for the small jolt of life I felt returning to my body and soul.
Later that day we sat down to watch a familiar movie, The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson in the role of a fictional character named Benjamin Martin, who finds himself drawn into the American Revolutionary War.
It’s always been a favorite and I’ve seen it many times. But this time I would see the story unfold through an entirely new lens. There’s more to it, I found, than just a patriot hero, a keen military strategy and an intriguing history lesson.
The movie actually contains many of the essential elements of spiritual warfare, useful for us living on the earth today, heading into the year of our Lord, 2023, which promises to be another year of volatility and disruptive events.
While the movie received mostly high praise at its release back in 2000, if you Google “The Patriot” you will find some spurious things have been written in recent years by mainstream critics taking pot shots at Robert Rodat’s dramatic presentation of a story about revolutionary colonists who rebelled against the British Throne. His story centers on the life of one Benjamin Martin, a fictional character based loosely on the real-life character of Brigadier General Francis Marion, an American Revolutionary War officer, planter and politician also known in history as the Swamp Fox.
Rodat’s critics say his script presents an overly simplified view of the period, some going as far as to say it should not be shown to American school children — of course not as it might instill values such as national pride, bravery and courage under fire. They totally miss the point. Every good story is simplified so as to cut through the noise and allow those listening to hear the single most salient lesson being taught. If told well, the lesson from a good story can ring for generations. That’s why I think Rodat knocked it out of the park with this film, solidifying its lofty place in the American historical film genre, where it captures the psyche of the early American agrarian settlers who lived and worked far from the population centers in New York, Boston or Philadelphia. They formed militias to protect themselves from government mobs and faced a moment in history similar to what we are living in now where they were forced to make a decision: Do they confront the obvious evil that had come out of the shadows and into broad daylight, had even come for their children, or do they bow and offer up their posterity to this illegitimate thing claiming authority, claiming ownership, over their lives?
Leaving that early American agrarian psyche unexplored is to miss out on a valuable lesson so desperately needed not just in America today but throughout 21st century Western culture. Where does that American fighting spirit of independence come from and where did it go? Who crushed it and how? Is it even possible to take it back? If so, how?
But even more than that, I believe The Patriot offers a hidden commentary on the Christian believer’s natural desire to remain free, to refuse to bend the knee to any earthly authority that controverts the will of Almighty God and his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the sole source of our freedoms, and the moment any government or corporate entity makes the claim to usurp His role as the author and definer of right and wrong, it’s our duty to rise up and oppose that entity. Evil always must be confronted or it will rob you of everything you have that is truly valuable. It won’t just take one of your kids or grandkids, it will not rest until it’s taken them all. He created each of us in His image with freedom of conscience and a free will, and it is to Him whom we will all be held accountable in how we exercised that precious gift.
When any earthly king or authority tries to subvert and supplant the laws of nature and of nature’s God, violating the sacred free will He instilled in us, that entity has now overstepped its bounds and gone rogue. It has given itself over to the Prince of Darkness. We cannot follow the dictates of any man or woman who represents this evil cabal, whether he be in Washington or in London, in Paris, Davos, Geneva or Jerusalem. We’ve been far too tolerant for far too long and that’s why we’ve come to this dark place in history.
So what’s any of this have to do with The Patriot? After watching it again, I saw plenty of parallels between then and now.
For starters, when evil shows up and bares its fangs, you should expect that at least 97 percent of the people will be caught off guard and will cower. They’ll simply never show up. Most will not even recognize the evil for what it is, but even among those who do, they would rather believe lies than truth. It’s always the path of least resistance to deny the truth and follow the lie. The bigger the lie that is told to them by an illegitimate earthly authority, the more committed to it most of the truth-deniers will become.
Benjamin Martin found himself in this camp, with the truth deniers, at the beginning of the film. He didn’t want to believe that the tyranny of the British Crown was really as bad as others were making it out to be and tried to justify his inaction.
“An elected legislature can be just as tyrannical as a king,” he argued, which was a true statement that sidestepped the issue at hand and only served to muddy up the waters. They were not dealing with a tyrannical legislature; they were dealing with a tyrannical king!
We see good people engaging in this same type of stubborn denial today. Even if the forces of darkness get their minions to pass laws or enact policies that are so blatantly evil, something like, say, “family friendly” drag queen shows presenting barely clothed men dancing erotically and simulating sex in front of young children, you will hear the 97 percent try to justify it or at least downplay it, as somehow not as bad as it looks. We are just overdramatizing it. It’s not grooming. It’s artistic expression or some other bizarre construct. They’ve already chosen to which authority they will submit — rather than choosing to follow the ageless wisdom of the One and Only definer of what’s right and wrong, the God of the Bible, they choose that which seems most convenient and expedient at the moment.
They listen to the whispers: Don’t get involved. That’s not your fight. Leave it for someone else. Another person. Another time. Another day.
They will always find some reason to cower, bend, back down, cut a deal, compromise.
Lesson number 1: You can’t negotiate with the devil.
Benjamin Martin learned this the hard way.
When the Revolutionary War broke out, Martin, played by Mel Gibson, was part of this first group, the 97 percent. He wanted nothing to do with it.
But he gets a staggering wakeup call when a British officer named Col. William Tavington arrives at his house with a garrison of troops. When a harmless scuffle breaks out, Tavington shoots and kills one of Martin’s young sons in cold blood right in front of his father’s eyes.
They slaughtered Martin’s young son like a stray dog. But these monsters aren’t done. They shackle his oldest son, Gabriel, and haul him off to be hung as a traitor because he had already enlisted in the Continental Army.
With the war now having arrived at his personal residence, Martin goes from the first group of 97 percent not wanting to fight, to the second group of 3 percent who rightly divided good from evil and became active volunteers in the fight against the Crown.
Nobody has to convince him to pick up a weapon now.
As his house is set ablaze, he frantically goes in amidst the smoke and flames to grab whatever weapons he can find — several muskets, a pistol, an old tomahawk — and heads to the woods with his two remaining sons, who look like they’re still pre-teens. After some brief instructions from dad, they lie in wait for the passing British army unit that torched their home and was hauling the oldest son off to the gallows.
Hiding behind trees, Martin and his two young sons take out 20 Redcoats before they even knew what hit them and the ambush concludes with Gabriel being freed and Martin disappearing into the woods with all three of his sons like ghosts into the mist.
They carried out many more surprise attacks, using the same guerrilla tactics, as the stunned British officer corps searched in vain for the leader of these secret assassins. They start referring to this invisible attacker as “the Ghost.”
Meanwhile, Martin continues to not only fight but recruit fresh blood into his now growing militia.
Lesson number 2: The initial volunteers will only get you so far when fighting a committed, determined, well-organized army of demons – and the British were all of the above, much like the globalists and leftists coming for our children today. Eventually you will need to call in backup and that means going out to recruit fresh foot soldiers.
So Gabriel went into the surrounding churches while his father Benjamin went into the underbelly of society to find new recruits.
Those were some rough-looking characters that Benjamin dredged up from local bars and saloons. His son cringed at the sight of them. These guys did not fit his idea of a professional soldier, but Benjamin saw something in them that was needed, an eagerness to fight and not run. While they had nothing in common at first, these men from country churches and tough-guy saloons ended up earning each other’s respect and making for a potent fighting force.
Lesson number 3: Do not falsely judge your neighbor based on his background being different or not as pristine as yours.
Eventually, British General Cornwallis begins to gather enough intel to identify the rebel militia and he agrees to an evil plan to annihilate it once and for all. Cornwallis turns to none other than Col. Tavington to carry out the task. This is the same Tavington who murdered Benjamin’s young son. Tavington figures out not only who is leading these devastating attacks on British troops but gets his hands on a list of all volunteers serving in the local militia, including names and addresses of family members.
So now Benjamin Martin is no longer anonymous. He’s no longer a “Ghost.” He’s now got a name, a face, and a bounty on his shoulders, along with every one of his renegade militiamen, and their families back home in the South Carolina countryside are alone and vulnerable.
Lesson number 4: If you’re living in evil times and you choose to be on the side of good, you can only remain anonymous for so long. You will eventually have to embrace your role as an outspoken voice of resistance.
Tavington commissions a specialized Gestapo-like force to raid their homes in the dead of night, kill any family members on site and burn their houses to the ground.
The story goes on from there and I don’t need to relay any more of the details, other than to say that the small ambush attacks were effective for a time but were not enough to defeat an enemy of this caliber. Half-hearted attacks, blind-sided attacks must eventually turn into a full frontal assaults on the heart of the enemy’s troops. At some point, the rag-tag militiamen had to get prepared to face the mighty British Army in the open field in a major epic battle for the ages. When that happened, and God showed up, the results changed history.
Now, let’s get into the trenches for more lessons in warfare.
These battles started out with the two armies situated far apart, lobbing cannon balls and rifle volleys from a distance, with sporadic hits taking out a man here, another there. As one falls, another rushes in to take his place and close the gap.
As the fighting advances to the next stage, you bring out your muskets. A musket was a smooth-bore weapon that did not have the range or accuracy of a grooved-bore rifle, but when fired in synchronized volleys at a distance of less than 100 yards, they could be devastating. You can see the men falling more frequently now, to your right and to your left, but the smoke and the distance were still such that you couldn’t see exactly how many of your musket balls were landing hits on the enemy’s side.
Lesson number 5: You won’t always see the results of your fervent prayers, your hard work, your faithful service, at least not immediately.
Then the battlefield shrinks again. Sometimes one side will break through the lines only to find itself too far in and without enough manpower, at which point they will decide to retreat rather than face more devastating losses.
I don’t know what percentage of the overall Revolutionary War battles went to the final and most terrifying stage, but you had to know it was about to happen when you heard your commanding officer shout, “Fix bayonets!”
Here’s where your training becomes imperative. What did you do with your free time back when you first became a soldier, and the battlefield was still far off?
Did you do the bare minimum, just enough to pass muster, or did you spend extra hours sharpening your skills, knowing they would likely be more in demand at a future date?
Hand-to-hand combat ensues. You are now toe to toe and eyeball to eyeball with the enemy. You must fight like a madman and leave nothing on the field. You must simultaneously fight defensively and offensively. You must have mastered every weapon at your disposal, from your musket to your pistol to your sword, your dagger, your axe, right down to your pitchfork or pocket knife if that’s all you have left. Surrender is not an option at this point. It’s fight or die. And if too many of you die, you know the enemy hordes will go and have their way with your women and children.
When there’s no more time to reload and fire your musket, you use it as a club. While organized movements and synchronized sniper shooting were important in the earlier stages, now it’s every man for himself while also watching the backs of your fellow soldiers. Your sense of awareness, your peripheral vision, are more alive, more capable of seeing and reacting than you ever imagined possible during “normal” times.
These are what patriot men faced and this is how they reacted in 18th century America.
Imagine knowing even a tiny bit of this history and still wearing a Covid mask in 2023. Shame on you.
Where have all the Patriots gone?
But lest we get discouraged and feel we are alone in the pitched battles of today, we are not. I know quite a few brave men and women who I can count on to be with me in the trenches in 2023 and I’m sure you know some too.
Only about 3 percent of the colonists signed up to fight the mighty British Empire, which was roughly the equivalent of what we see fighting the modern technocratic beast system. You could get by in life as long as you paid the king’s exorbitant taxes and obeyed his ungodly rules, celebrated what he wanted celebrated and decried what he wanted decried.
That’s all it took, 3 percent. And I don’t expect it will be any more than that willing to head to the front lines in 2023 to fight today’s modern warfare, which is not fought with guns and canons but with ideas and information.
The main problem I see today is this: Many of the 3 percent are still fighting as if it’s the early stages of the war. They think they can launch an ambush attack here and there, then fade back into their comfortable homes, maybe turn on the NFL, play their video games, go to concerts, and remain anonymous. Some are just into their jobs and busy family lives, but have neglected the bigger picture. We’ve all been there. It’s too late for that friends. Find the front. Go on the offensive. Launch an attack. Learn how to sustain your attacks. We are, I believe, already beyond the stage of musket volleys and heading for hand-to-hand combat. At any moment now, our field General could shout: “Fix bayonets!” Are you ready? Will you even hear him when he issues the command?
We should be preparing now for the sound of His voice. We know the time is close because the enemy is taking names and making lists. We can no longer remain anonymous.
So, if they existed today, what would the 3 percent who are willing to make a final stand against the 21st century beast system look like?
First of all, they would have a burning love of the truth and an uncompromising hatred for lies, half-truths and watered-down messages that give a false assessment of the battlefield, thereby deceiving the people into keeping their guards down.
Secondly, they would have wisdom and discernment beyond their years, enabling them to divide fact from fiction, information from propaganda, truth from error, reality from fantasy.
Thirdly, they will have a spine of iron from having taken so many beatings from the enemy over the years. Most were involved in skirmishes that led up to the looming final confrontation but there are always fresh recruits willing to join, we just need to invite them. It’s important to know that sometimes you will need to back off for a brief period to regain your strength, but a true warrior always returns to the battlefield.
Finally, they will have developed a doggedness of soul and an uncompromising devotion to Christ.
In a nutshell, we become like the battle-hardened Christian Warriors of old.
Until we develop that warrior mentality, we will never be ready for the battlefield. Some folks are fair-weather Christians. They’re in it for all the wrong reasons, looking for material blessings, social status, perhaps to see the world through the mission field, whatever. Those are all nice but they’re not valid reasons to follow Christ.
We follow Him with the purpose of becoming more like Him: Take up your cross and follow Me.
Be not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of your mind.
And knowing that the more we become like Him, speaking truth to power, the more unpopular we will become in the eyes of the world.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
In other words, count the earthly cost that will be involved in receiving that eternal reward, and hearing those words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
I’ve often said that those of us alive on planet Earth right now have reached a point in history where we are standing in the valley of decision. You won’t be able to bridge the gap, to ride the fence. You will be forced to pick a side in this monumental struggle between good and evil. Don’t make your decision on the cheap. If you’re not encountering some hate and resistance in today’s world, then it’s quite possible that you pose no threat to the enemy’s territory.
Kingdoms are in conflict. And every kingdom has its king.
Kings are very demanding. Each requires his toll.
Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Many observers have said over the last three years, myself included, that Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum/Great Reset is nothing but the return of the old feudal system, only this time the slaves will be marked by their digital devotion to their overlords (show your QR Code, sir, before you are allowed to pass from point A to point B).
To which king or kingdom will you swear your fealty?
To the Kingdom of God or to one of the vastly inferior kingdoms of this world?
In the year 2023, we will see more people making what could be their final decisions to join themselves to one of two fathers, their Father in heaven or the father of lies.
Just know that if you choose the Kingdom of your Father in heaven, he might lead you into places where you get your hands dirty and your back scarred.
Because there’s no shortage of minions out there right now working for the devil. If you’re worried about being called a name, then please, don’t sign up for God’s army. Because if you can’t handle a musket volley today, how will you stand tomorrow against a slicing sword-stroke to your torso, or a biting stab in the back, when the battlefield closes in, and the bayonets come out?
Standing for truth starts by becoming a lover of truth.
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