JOAN OF ARC
"Love, Mercy, Charity, Fortitude, War, Peace, Poetry, Music--these may be symbolized as any shall prefer:
by figures of either sex and of any age; but a slender girl in her first young bloom, with the martyr's crown
upon her head, and in her hand the sword that severed her country's bonds--shall not this, and no other, stand for
PATRIOTISM through all the ages until time shall end?"
Mark Twain's ending to his Biography about Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc was perhaps the greatest freedom fighter to ever live and continues to inspire people today to resist tyranny and live free. When you study Joan's life and the fundamental values that drove her it is hard not to see many parallels to the American vision of freedom as laid down by the founding fathers of America. This website is therefore dedicated to instilling in Americans today the same spirit and love for freedom possessed by both Saint Joan of Arc and by all the great patriots who founded the United States of America.
"Give me liberty or give me death!"
While Joan was never recorded as actually speaking these exact words immortalized by Patrick Henry she certainly exemplified them in the way that she lived and died. Joan simple refused to live in a country controlled by English invaders who forced her people to live under their tyranny. Even though she was just a young peasant girl she believed that God wanted her people to live free and left home to lead her people to freedom. In doing so she could have easily said: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"1
Intrinsic to the very nature of Joan of Arc as well as patriots like Patrick Henry is a deep love for God that translates into a love for their fellow man. Out of this love naturally flows a desire to ensure that their fellow man lives free as God intended. Joan also relied totally upon God to give her the strength to fight against incredible odds in leading the armies of France to victory over the English. As Joan once explained: "In God's name, the soldiers will fight and He will grant victory." In a similar way Patrick Henry advocated reliance upon God in urging Americans to revolt against the tyranny of Great Britain when he said: "Sir we are not weak, if we make a proper use of these means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us."2
"Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God"
In the days that Joan lived the English actually had a legal claim to rule over all of France and some of Joan's fellow countrymen had even allied themselves with the English and were collaborating to enslave the rest of the French people. Joan, however, refused to accept English rule instead believing her proper course was to be obedient to God and fight the English. In doing so she followed the same course later followed by American patriots in declaring independence from Great Britain who believed that rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. After the Declaration of Independence was signed two of the greatest patriots, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, advocated that the motto of the new nation be "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" and the great seal of the United States depict the Biblical example of this motto from Exodus.3
So what would Joan of Arc be doing if she lived in America today? Without a doubt she would be fighting for freedom because that was her nature however it is open to speculation as to exactly how she would be fighting. Would she lead an army as she did when she lived or would she choose to fight in some other way. I sincerely believe that if Joan had been alive and living in America in 2003 she would have been outraged at how the word of God that she loved so dearly was ordered removed from a public building by the federal government.4 I believe Joan would have felt then similarly to the way Patrick Henry felt in 1763 when he declared that the veto of a just act by the duly elected representatives of the people is the "act of a tyrant who forfeits the allegiance of the people."5 If only Joan had been alive and living in America in 2003 then I think we would all know exactly how she would fight for freedom in today's world.
The great lesson that we can all learn from Saint Joan of Arc is to value freedom as a gift from God and never stop fighting for it. As the word of God declares "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed"6 so anyone who loves God as Joan did will naturally want to share with everyone the freedom that they have received through the love of God. While few people are called to perform great deeds like Joan and sacrifice their very lives for the cause of freedom we can all still fight for freedom in our own way and make a difference. While the fight for freedom is never easy and never ending it is perhaps the most noble of all causes that one can pursue and when the going gets tough always remember the immortal words of Joan of Arc that she spoke to rally her troops before her great victory at Patay:
"In God's name, we must fight them! If they were hanging from the clouds
we should get them; for God sends us to chastise them!"
1Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia Revolutionary Committee on March 23, 1775.
2Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia Revolutionary Committee on March 23, 1775.
3First Great Seal Committee notes of July/August 1776.
4Ten Commandments removed from Alabama's state judicial building by order of federal judge in 2003.
5Patrick Henry arguing at Hanover Courthouse in the "Parsons' Cause" trial of December 1763.
6Holy Bible, John 8:36.
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