POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
The traditional sentimental American notion of “the Pilgrim Fathers,” gentlemen in tall black hats and big white collars doing Christian things, is just that, sentimental, and untrue.
The Pilgrims were not an abused people seeking freedom in the new world. They were abusers.
They were a harsh, unpleasant people who had worked hard to make themselves hated and unwelcome in many parts of Europe.
Many Americans will not know that the Puritans' practices included things such as breaking into the worship services of others and making it impossible to continue with noise and rudeness.
The Puritan groups were also responsible, after the English Reformation, for running through the magnificent old cathedrals and smashing statues, burning paintings and manuscripts, and destroying the resting places of dead martyrs and saints. They did incalculable historical and artistic damage in the name of God.
If you go back and read the words of some of their early leaders such as John Knox, you will be stunned by the brutality, savagery, and prejudice. It is not an exaggeration to say that their words have a strong resemblance to those of Nazis in some instances.
They were a repressive people and instituted harsh laws in the parts of New England they settled. Many years after the “Pilgrim Fathers,” young Benjamin Franklin left his native city in large part because of the lingering harsh Puritan atmosphere. Franklin was a pretty free-thinking and innovative-minded young man.
Those who know their history can easily believe that some of America’s terrible policies today derive from the bad gene pool with which these people endowed the land.