american myths and the real pilgrims

Happy Thanksgiving America.

Apparently, the first Pilgrims on the Mayflower were both devout and tolerant.  Great characteristics to possess and from which flow genuine liberty.

The Pilgrims – unlike British Puritans who wanted to turn Massachusetts into a theocracy – sharply advocated church-state separation. They heretically believed that women should be allowed to speak in church. They were far more tolerant of other faiths and open to the idea that their theology, like all human dogma, might contain errors.

Pilgrim experiences “in the cosmopolitan Netherlands are a reason they are less rigid or dogmatic in their views about what people must and must not do,” argues Jeremy Bangs, curator of the American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden and author of “Saints and Pilgrims,” a 900-page reappraisal published this year on the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Leiden.

“The pilgrims didn’t have witchcraft hysteria, they didn’t kill Quakers. These are big differences!” notes Mr. Bangs, a former curator of Plimoth Plantation whose work draws heavily from untapped Dutch and New England archives. “Pilgrim leaders were less prone to persecute…. The possibility that others may be right and they may be wrong is something influenced by their time living in an extraordinary community of other exiles in Holland.”

Read the whole article in the Christian Science Monitor.

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