Puritan Ethics

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Dave Butler

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Sep 18, 1986, 5:08:16 PM9/18/86
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The net has been filled lately about how christian church was the
driving force behind the making of America and how the Puritan ethics
made this country great. How they escaped from tyranny and persecution
to come over here. With all this talk about how all the puritan came over
to escape persecusion, its humorous to note that they immediately set up
their own set of persecusions. The following quote is from Allen Sherman's
_The_Rape_Of_TheA*P*E*_:

By the time the Mayflower arrived, America had already been
going down the uptight staircase for eight years - since 1612,
when the Jamestown Code was written. The spelling was abominable,
but the meaning was clear:

No man shal commit the horrible, and detestable sins
of Sodomie upon pain of death; & he or she that can
be lawfully convict of Adultery shall be punished with
death. No man shall ravish or force any woman, maid
or Indian, or other, upon pain of death, and ... he
or shee, that shall commit fornication and evident
proofe made thereof, for their first fault shall be
whipt....

The Puritans weren't just fooling around either. There is a
famous story of a sailor, returned from a threeyear voyage. When
his wife came to the door, he hugged her right there on the doorstep.
Unfortunately it was Sunday, and they were observed. He was thrown in
the stockade for three more years.

Condemned prisonors, standing on the gallows with their necks
already in the noose, were forced to listen to morality sermons.
One such was delivered by a hellfire preacher named Jonathan Edwards,
of Northampton, Massachusetts:

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as
one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the
fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. You are
ten times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful
and venomous serpent ... if you cried to God to pity
you, He will be so far from pitying you in your doleful
case, or showing you the least regard or favor, that
instead of that He will only tread you underfoot.

After 20 minutes of that, it must have been a pleasure to
be hanged.

After reading that, aren't you glad the Puritans escaped to America
so that they could spread their special version of "love" and "freedom"?
If that was an example of what the Puritans contributed to America, I feel
we could have done well enough without thankyou. Because of the subject
matter I thought net.singles would get a kick out of it too, by if you
going to make a strictly religeous commentary on this, post it to just
talk.religion.misc and I promise to do the same.

Enjoyed this Immensely,

Dave Butler


Remember: Silly is a state of Mind, Stupid is a way of Life.

Karen Christenson

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Sep 22, 1986, 12:04:56 PM9/22/86
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In article <27...@pogo.UUCP> da...@pogo.UUCP (Dave Butler) writes:
> [we've been praising the Puritans and their contributions; how's about
> THESE apples:]

>The following quote is from Allen Sherman's _The_Rape_Of_TheA*P*E*_:
>
> By the time the Mayflower arrived, America had already been
> going down the uptight staircase for eight years - since 1612,
> when the Jamestown Code was written. The spelling was abominable,
> but the meaning was clear:
>[sodomy and rape punishable by death, and fornication is outlawed]
The guys at Jamestown weren't Puritans. (I'm not sure they even HAD
religion. :-))

> The Puritans weren't just fooling around either. There is a
>famous story of a sailor, returned from a threeyear voyage. When
>his wife came to the door, he hugged her right there on the doorstep.
>Unfortunately it was Sunday, and they were observed. He was thrown in
>the stockade for three more years.

Great story, but is it true?

> Condemned prisonors, standing on the gallows with their necks
>already in the noose, were forced to listen to morality sermons.
>One such was delivered by a hellfire preacher named Jonathan Edwards,
>of Northampton, Massachusetts:

> [quote from what might be "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God", but
basically "God thinks you're loathsome scum"]
Jonathan Edwards was part of the first Great Awakening, which actually
only took root along the Connecticut River valley. It was a derivative of
Puritanism, but *not* Puritanism, taking place at least a hundred years after
the colonization. What I think of as REAL Puritanism died out after the
first few generations.

> After reading that, aren't you glad the Puritans escaped to America
>so that they could spread their special version of "love" and "freedom"?

Hello, and welcome to Stereotypes 101. Not your fault, Dave; Puritans
are maligned by everyone except some history majors (like me) who've put them
into context. Which context? The Protestant Reformation, of course. We're
still (at this point) operating on the idea of there's one true church. The
Protestants think the Catholics have got it all wrong and THIS is what it
should be like. The movement divides into two camps: reform the current
church and the current church is too messed up so let's just pull out and
start fresh (the Separatists). The Puritans were a part of the Separatists.
They came to make a model community (the City on the Hill), not to spread
love and freedom. Then they could say to the folks back in Europe, "See?
This is how it's done. Your turn." Religious freedom and tolerance weren't
acceptable concepts *anywhere* until after Europe suffered the Thirty Year's
War. Then they decided that maybe it wasn't worth it. American Puritans saw
this as a major betrayal of the cause.

> Enjoyed this Immensely,
Me, too.
> Dave Butler

Karen Christenson
"Mostly harmless." ...!dartvax!chelsea
Have an adequate day.

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