Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Original WB

We're taught in school and in this society that this country was founded on the principles of religious freedom-- that the forefathers came to this country to escape religious persecution.  I hear this in the secular and the Christian world.  But it's inaccurate.  So for this Memorial Day, let's remember back and uncover truth.

We have the journals and writings of our forefathers-- the Pilgrims.  Back in the early 17th century, King James I was not a fan of the Christian sect of Puritism.  Called "Separatist," the leaders were arrested in 1609.  Many of the congregation fled to Amsterdam, and one was a young William Bradford (19 years old).

So yes, the "pilgrims" left England to avoid religious persecution-- but when they went to Amsterdam and eventually settled in Leiden, they found the freedom they were looking for.  So if you want to talk about them coming to the new world for religious freedom, it's not that accurate.

Some say that the tide was turning in the Netherlands in 1620-- that because of new alliances with England, they started putting pressure on the Separatists to curry favor with James.  But there's no evidence of this.  What there is are letters and journals where these Separatists were concerned about the Dutch "worldy way" influence on their children.

Regardless, Separatist leader John Robinson supported the emerging idea of starting a colony in the new world.  Bradford was a big early proponent.  So to leave behind the European politics and pressures, these Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower in 1620, working out a deal with some merchants for provisions now and later.  These Pilgrims took a long time, but did in fact pay off these merchants so they could keep the land they colonized free and clear.

While in sight of the new world, after the rough trans-Atlantic voyage of this ship, the men on the ship decided to come together on a set of rules and law which was the Mayflower Compact (which was not a Mary Kay product contrary to current thought).

At first, they farmed, worked and toiled to combine efforts to pay back that debt.  But that didn't work (socialism was a failed experiment in those early years).  What they found was that if a man didn't work, then he shouldn't eat. (Hmm, sounds Biblical).

They practiced there religion and raised the children away from the influences that they wanted to avoid.  So it was more than just to escape religious persecution that brought them to this land.  Just thought you should know.

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