We founded our country on liberty within the confines of law, a theme that would likely challenge many grade-school students today. It’s on full display in the second episode of Courage, New Hampshire. The show starts with a hanging. A preacher declares to the audience, “The wages is death,” and so the counterfeiter must die. For unexplained reasons, a burglar is spared a hanging and instead branded with a “B” on his forehead.
Silas Rhodes is the justice of the peace in Courage, and he’s worried that he should have brought in a preacher years ago. He lists the various crimes and vices committed over the past few years and blames himself for spending more time on building the economy than nurturing community faith. So he hires a recent graduate of Harvard, to preach for eight sermons, saying if the township doesn’t like him, they can look for a preacher themselves. No doubt they will be looking for a new preacher soon, since this one proves himself a louse as soon as we meet him.
The burglar may be the most fascinating character in this story. He confesses to having a vision while on the hanging block, seeing the devil lusting for him and Christ Jesus standing between them. Later on, he appears to be chaffing under the preacher’s Scripture-less sermon. I look forward to seeing him become a courageous patriot.
This episode smolders in tension a while and blazes up at the end. It reveals an induction ceremony for The Sons of Liberty, a secret band of patriots which I believe was launched in response to the Stamp Act in 1765. Each colony had their own society of patriots, and after the Stamp Act was repealed and the larger organization dispersed, John Adams notes, “Many Sons of Liberty groups, however, continue to remain active in local community affairs.” It will be fascinating to see how these men take up a higher law to fight against a heavy-handed British government in future episodes. The third show releases next week, May 6.