This post is more or less a follow up on the previous post concerning my voter's dilemma. When running an errand I, in a fit of boredom, turned on the radio and heard a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh's show. The American pundit has recently released a children's book called Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. A caller, in tears, thanked Limbaugh for his vague use of divine "providence" and "God" at a point in the story line when one character on the Mayflower falls overboard. Mr. Limbaugh then launched into the conventional buncombe, so familiar to Americans, about how America was originally a Christian nation and gave a short lesson on the persecution of the "God-fearing" pilgrims at the hands of the "King." This is romantic rubbish!
The "pilgrims" were a group of mad Englishmen called Puritans, a wicked sect of Protestantism descended from the very worst theology of John Calvin. Their worship was horrid, some Biblical lections in a stark and barren church; iconoclasm was rife in the Isles in those days. Moreover their time in England was an unmitigated disaster for the country. Their influence exploded in the early 17th century during the English Civil War under Oliver Cromwell, who, upon ceasing power, proceeded to cut off King Charles' head and enable the same to happen to poor William Laud. They overhauled the Anglican Church, further alienating it from Apostolic origins than Elizabeth and Cranmer previously had done, damaging many beautiful temples along the way. Even after their downfall, Puritans still had some deleterious influence in England. The restoration of Charles II and the deposition of James II, his son, meant that the sovereign of England would effectively be given his power not by God, but by the judgment of Parliament, a tremendous paradigm shift in English identity.
By the time all this disastrous excitement took place in England, many Puritans had gone off to found settlements in North America. The aftermath of the Cromwell affair illustrates exactly why these "pilgrims" wound up in America. English authorities, still reeling from the upheaval of Henry VIII and Elizabeth, were far too wise to entertain the mad sentiments and whims of a sect that wished to carry England's religious reforms even further, upsetting the government, the family, and society at large. So they were sent packing. It pains many to realize America was founded by religious riffraff and tax-dodgers.