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July 23, 2016

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From Walker's article, and emphasis is mine:


American children are also taught that our country came to be thanks to a faithful, dissenting remnant—the Pilgrims—who sought political asylum and religious freedom. People traveled thousands of miles in order to create a political society where religious exercise was at the center. However inconsistent America’s earliest religious dissenters may have been in extending the freedom of dissent to others, religious freedom was woven into our nation’s earliest beginnings.

How do you square that circle, though? The Pilgrims had religious freedom in Holland. Everyone knows they came to the New World for two reasons: to preserve their English cultural identity, and to establish a utopian Calvinist theocracy - a "city upon a hill". It is very telling that Walker acknowledges the theocratic nature of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies and still calls what they achieved "religious freedom" - after all, true religious freedom is merely the ability to practice the One True Faith.

And then we get to the real difference between the two competing visions of "religious freedom". Walker, like most of the conservatives is this debate, thinks that religious freedom means that Christians get to exempt themselves from generally applicable laws if their religious beliefs motivate them against obeying said laws. (For obvious reasons, this is not a privilege that can be afforded to everyone, so conservatives' idea of "religious freedom" tends to expand and contract with their sympathy for the religion and viewpoint at issue.) If they are not given these exemptions, they equate this with stifling dissent.

And then there are those of us that believe that sexual orientation non-discrimination laws do not stifle conservative Christian dissent any more than racial non-discrimination laws violate the right of people to hold and express racist points of view. Neither is Marxist-Leninist dissent suppressed just because we arrest people who try to overthrow the government by force of arms.

You're really big on drawing a distinction between thoughts and behavior when it comes to homosexuality, but why not for religious freedom?

Phillip A,

Historic crash and burn The Pilgrims of the Mayflower Compact equated to the Puritanical concept of John Winthrop. Hardly. The Pilgrims sought religious freedom, the Puritans to establish a theocracy. Remember, the Puritans were the driving force behind the Roundhead movement in the English Civil War. The Pilgrims were not involved in such. Separating colonies as Connecticut and Rhode Island left Massachusetts Bay Colony, not Plymouth (absorbed by the larger colony inland.

The painting of two diverse groups is the main fault of the problem.

>> generally applicable laws

To be clearer and fairer, "recently passed generally applicable laws." And this by judicial activism, not acceptable democratic processes. The issues of conscience is reduced to erroneous thought and subjected to non-review. This also fails the historic test. Laws on Slavery, Prohibition, and other laws were virtually ignored by those who felt these were arrogations of justice.

And this in a culture which celebrates diversity.

Excuse my incredulity.

The Pilgrims sought religious freedom, the Puritans to establish a theocracy.

Are you telling me the laws of Plymouth colony did not mandate attendance at a state-sanctioned Calvinist church? Are you claiming that Quakers were not persecuted by the children of the Mayflower Compact?

Laws on Slavery, Prohibition, and other laws were virtually ignored by those who felt these were arrogations of justice.

But nobody claimed that punishing people for selling liquor was a violation of the First Amendment rights of Prohibition opponents.

Phillip A,

Three points (or actually two and then some):

1. >> Are you claiming that Quakers were not persecuted by the children of the Mayflower Compact?

In the effect that in your attached website reference to the refusal for Plymouth Colony to allow the disembarking of a shipload of Quakers as overt persecution. In the historical context, the Quakers were a sect whose pacifistic doctrines were already in disfavor with the mother country. This incident has no more lack of integral intent than the deportment of undesirables at Ellis Island. The real incident of persecution of Quakers came with the death of Mary Dyer. A Quaker supporter, Dyer never became a Quaker herself until two years prior to her execution. Till then, she was a Puritan dissident. The real acts of brutal persecution were in Boston, not in Plymouth. Still, I always boggle at the lack of religious freedom for Separatist faiths by other Separatist groups.

But essentially, Plymouth sought religious freedom, only to be bettered by William Penn (Quaker, ironically) in Pennsylvania.

As a sidebar, the church-state separation concept addressed to the Danbury Baptists centered on Baptist equality to the established Congregationalist Church in Massachusetts.

2. >> But nobody claimed that punishing people for selling liquor was a violation of the First Amendment rights of Prohibition opponents.

Were you thinking of Gangster Era Chicago when you wrote this?

3. I have always been fascinated by the use of yellow-word hypertext jumps as you used in your 7:52 post. How do you do this?

I have always been fascinated by the use of yellow-word hypertext jumps as you used in your 7:52 post. How do you do this?

You could do worse than to start here.

Phillip A

>> You could do worse than to start here

Fascinating. Thank you.

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