Holy war is often identified with something from the distant past like the Crusades. James P. Byrd, author of the new book Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution, argues that the American Revolution was like a holy war. Patriots, believing in the justice of their cause, appealed to scripture, backed by preaching from pulpits. George Washington insisted on having chaplains in the army and he ordered his soldiers to attend services. Appeals for victory were made to God in battle. Even the skeptical Thomas Paine used scripture in his “Common Sense,” the most influential revolutionary pamphlet (Washington Post, July 5).