John Adams and the Red Coats…Oath Keepers and Kim Davis:

John Adams and the Red Coats…Oath Keepers and Kim Davis:


Just three short weeks after the Boston Massacre had taken place, a grand jury indicted Captain Preston and his men of firing into an angry crowd. The soldiers of the 29th regiment being accused of murder were: William Wemms, James Hartigan, William McCauley, Hugh White, Matthew Kilroy, William Warren, John Carrol, and Hugh Montgomery. If they were found guilty, they each faced their death. The very unpopular red coats had so far been turned down by every attorney they had approached for representation. That is until 35 year old John Adams agreed to take on their case. As history would show, John Adams was no great supporter of the British Army. Indeed, taking this case, that involved the murder of Adam’s fellow Bostonians, could have been detrimental to his future law practice, his own safety, and even that of his family. So why did he do it? Because, it was the right thing to do, and being a man of principal, he felt compelled to act…even if it was an unpopular act. You see, John Adam’s was a great supporter of the rule of law and equal justice for all. I am reminding us of this story about one our greatest founding fathers because I believe that the moral of the story is in play today, with the recent actions of the Oath Keepers.

Truth be told, I had originally written a much more emotional version of this article and decided to try and tone things down a bit and hopefully insure that my words are not dismissed as frustrated rantings.

When I first heard that we were going to Morehead, Kentucky to offer embattled County Clerk, Kim Davis protection, I knew that we were going to be taking a lot of flack, from all sides of this issue. The truth of the matter is, I, personally, take a very libertarian view on gay marriage and do not believe that the government has any place to be issuing (or not issuing) marriage licenses. This governmental practice originated as a way to keep blacks and whites from intermarrying, essentially, as a form of oppression and just another control measure for the powers that be. It is my personal belief that whatever any man or woman does in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is their own business. As long as it does not interfere with any one else’s pursuit thereof the same, so be it. I have, since I was a young adult, argued that everyone is entitled to all of our inalienable rights, including the freedom of expression and due process. This even includes some vile people such as the KKK, the Black Panthers, Neo- nazis…I think you get my drift. I also believe that this massive call for political correctness is going down the wrong road for our country. I think the government has no place telling a baker or any other small business owner (no matter what personal beliefs they may hold) who they must or must not do business with. Honestly I wouldn’t want a cake from someone that didn’t want to bake it for my occasion, I would have to question the quality and care that was put into its production. Today it may be the Christian baker being forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding. But how long will it be until we see a Jewish baker being forced to bake a cake for a neo-nazi holocaust celebration?

Whether I personally believe in what Kim Davis was doing, in her stand against gay marriage, does not matter. Whether or not you support Kim Davis’ actions, or hate them, again, it does not matter. We can not pick and choose who gets due process based on whether they are on our side or not, or even on the side of popular opinion. It must be equal across the board. The fact is, Judge Brunning had no legal right to have Kim Davis arrested and held for what she did. Brunning has been an out of control, activist judge, who has been running unchecked for quite some time and needs to be  reined in. There are quite a few decisions he has made where, I believe, and the courts found, he unlawfully pushed his will upon others, and violated their civil rights. Just look up a bit of his history.

Yes, the Supreme Court did make a Judicial Review Ruling on gay marriage, however, they do not have the power to make law. That lies only with the Congress and with each state’s legislative body. Kentucky has not yet made any new law to go along with this ruling, and as it sits currently, Kentucky has a constitutional amendment defining marriage in their state that runs counter to the Supreme Court’s ruling. So in fact, Kim Davis seems to be the only person in Kentucky actually following the law as it currently stands. Ironically, she was arrested and held with out having broken any law. I feel that offering her protection, much like with John Adams and the red coats, was the right thing to do. Being a part of this extraordinary organization brings me all across this diverse land of ours. I get to meet, and work with, some of the best human beings living and breathing, in our time. However, it also means that sometimes I need to soldier up, and help to protect the rights of someone that the vast majority of Americans may not agree with. It won’t always be a popular decision, but it will always be, what I feel is, the right thing to do. In our great country, our rights and freedoms do not belong solely to those we agree with, but to every citizen. Once we stop standing up for the rights of all, we lose sight of why this country even came into existence.

Jason Van Tatenhove

About Author

Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.