Jerry Newcombe
Washington’s troops, today’s protesters
By Jerry Newcombe
May 2, 2024

Many of the anti-Israel protesters at Columbia and other college campuses are dwelling in cushy tents on the quad. These tents look pretty modern and uniform; one could only wonder who is paying for all this?

In 1754, an advertisement for Columbia (then known as King’s College), promised, “The chief thing that is aimed at in this college is to teach and engage children to know God in Jesus Christ.” How far Columbia et al have strayed from the Christian faith that gave them birth.

Are today’s aggressive pro-Palestinian protests in line with what our forebears sacrificed to give us here in America?

George Washington was pleased, as were the other founders, that Jews here in America, whom he called “the children of the stock of Abraham,” would be free and not harassed for their religion. Washington viewed this land as a place described in his favorite Bible verse, Micah 4:4, where “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Alas, there are many today to “make him afraid” on these campuses of higher learning, where, for example, the tuition per year is $75,000 for Columbia. A lot of these protesters not only denounce Israel as a colonialist, white supremacist country, but they often denounce America in the same way.

Contrast these future leaders of society (!) with young people of the founding generation of this nation. Those committed to American independence, young and old, underwent many sacrifices as they fought hard for their (and our) liberties.

Speaking of the young dwelling in tents, imagine spending months in tents in the freezing, open fields of Pennsylvania. Beginning around December 1, 1777, thousands of America’s rag-tag army spent the brutal winter in Valley Forge.

Many of them were hungry and poorly equipped. It was said you could see where the troops had trod by the bloody footprints left in the snow. About 2,000 soldiers died—not from battle, but typhus, typhoid, influenza, pneumonia.

They slept in tents (not supplied by a camping goods superstore) until they were able to complete building the many wooden huts for their shelter.

It is reported that George Washington, their commander-in-chief, chose also to sleep in a tent until the log cabins were finished. Only then did this servant leader move into his headquarters there at Valley Forge.

Recently, I got to visit Valley Forge, Pennsylvania again. I was impressed by how incredible was the sacrifice that the early Americans went through for our freedom.

Visiting Valley Forge was a part of a faith and freedom tour of Coral Ridge Ministries, and our host was the head of the ministry, Dr. Rob Pacienza. Providence Forum, for which I serve as executive director, is a division of the ministry. The goal of Providence Forum is to teach Americans about our nation’s rich Judeo-Christian roots.

Our tour guide was Dr. Peter Lillback, the founding president of Providence Forum. He and I co-wrote a big thick book on the true faith of George Washington. It was the Christian faith of the father of our country that sustained him during trials like Valley Forge. He repeatedly and publicly thanked Providence (a reverent reference to God) for His help in our becoming an independent nation.

Why did the troops hunker down in Valley Forge? The British defeated the Americans at Brandywine on, what Dr. Lillback called, “our nation’s first 9/11.” September, 11, 1777.

What this fiasco for the fledgling new nation meant to the discerning eye of General Washington was that Philadelphia, our nation’s capital at the time, had become indefensible.

Soon the Congress and other government officials would have to flee. The Continental Congress ended up in York, Pennsylvania, and Washington led thousands of his troops to a defensible place called Valley Forge. Through months of hardship, the troops were forged into a stronger, more effective army.

Washington prayed fervently. God provided. The troops were drilled regularly and learned soldierly discipline there in Valley Forge. The many who went through the tribulation of Valley Forge came off battle ready.

On May 2, 1778, after their time of testing and sharpening, Washington wrote his troops from his Valley Forge headquarters, “To the distinguished character of a Patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian.”

Modern protesters at elite universities, endowed with some of the greatest privilege the world has ever known, sit in expensive tents eating readily-available food in fashionable protest against Israel. But George Washington, one of the Jewish peoples’ greatest supporters, led men (by personal example) through the roughest of times and conditions, to sacrificially lay the foundation for the freest nation on earth—a nation despised by the pampered protestors. Let us have more true leaders and fewer spoiled children.

© Jerry Newcombe


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Jerry Newcombe

Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the executive director of the Providence Forum, an outreach of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air host. He has written/co-written 33 books, including George Washington's Sacred Fire (with Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback, Ph.D.) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.). @newcombejerry


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