Saturday, November 19, 2005

Top Ten Signs You're Descended from Pilgrims

10. You promote religious tolerance toward all — except non-Christians, Catholics, Quakers, and Baptists.

9. You'll take a cruise only if it's overbooked and the ship's plumbing is out of order.

8. Your favorite part of Thanksgiving is the great taste of eel.

7. Based on the circumstances of conception, you named your kids "Wrestling," "Humility," and "Intemperance."

6. Your Cape Cod timeshare has a thatched roof.

5. You spend hours a day polishing your hat buckle.

4. Your adulterous wife was run down by a Plymouth Fury.

3. Half of your family dies from starvation each winter.

2. You get all of your gardening tips from

1. Once, when driving to Virginia, you ended up in Massachusetts.


Please do not continue to confuse the Mayflower Pilgrim Separatists with the Puritans. The Separatists were always more tolerant - their peace with the Indians lasted until the Puritan's behavior toward them pushed the region into war. Roger Williams served as a minister at First Parish in Plymouth and is well remembered there. It was when he went to Massachusetts Colony that he got into difficulty and ended up in RI. Please get your history straight.


Where, exactly, have I confused the two? Separatists were indeed more tolerant than Puritans, but that's irrelevant to the issue whether they were intolerant by modern standards (which is all I've suggested). I would, though, concede that the Pilgrims were more tolerant than you.

I'll defer to Richard Howland Maxwell's survey of Religious Controversaries in Plymouth Colony, which cites Bradford's dim appraisal of Roger Williams' teachings, and the Separatists' opinions on Baptists and Quakers. If you think that the Pilgrims would have been cozy with Catholics, then I would suggest it is you who needs to "get your history straight."

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