POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Pilgrims were not escaping religious persecution. That is a myth.
The various Puritan sects behaved obnoxiously in Europe.
Some ran through the ancient cathedrals smashing statues and stained glass and destroying manuscripts.
Others literally made a point of attending the religious meetings of others and shouting and behaving obnoxiously.
Others wrote ugly books and tracts that today read as genuine hate-speech.
They broke laws all over Europe.
Few Americans understand that the Puritans were escaping the results of their own fury and obtuseness when they sailed for America.
And they brought their nasty culture to American shores. They were happy killers of aboriginal people. They passed repressive laws in any community where they dominated.
How many Americans I wonder knew that burning effigies of the Pope became an American custom for many decades on the East Coast?
How many Americans know that one of the genuine underlying causes for the Revolution was anti-Catholic attitudes that burst out with Parliament's passing of the Quebec Act?
This was portrayed by many colonists as putting them under the Pope, using furious language exactly like that we would find in Northern Ireland in the 1960s.
Movements favoring superstition and ignorance and intolerance have little worthwhile to contribute to politics or any other institution today.
The public comments of Falwell, Robertson, and Franklin Graham may be somewhat less unpleasant than those of John Knox, a truly hideous man, but they contribute nothing worth having.