The Puritans Were Not The Founding Fathers

05/25/2011 12:15 pm ET
  • Tina Dupuy Nationally syndicated columnist and award-winning writer

We're doing well as a country when the Religious Right is unhappy. When James Dobson and Pat Robertson are upset, the canary is alive in the coal mine!

It's like -- look at us, we're still a democratic nation! The Ten Commandments haven't replaced the Bill of Rights. Evolution is still being mentioned in schools. Planned Parenthoods haven't been completely outlawed. And it's STILL against the law to stone homosexuals, pornographers and uppity women (pending a two-thirds majority vote in Congress).

I'm no pollster -- but I am willing to bet that there is a big chunk of folks who think that the Puritans and the Founding Fathers were the same people. Yes, the group of people that branded an 'H' on the cheeks of accused heretics were the same people responsible for the phrase 'freedom of speech'.

But that's what the Religious Right wants us to believe. It gives them a sense of entitlement. They'd have us assume a bunch of pious, simple folks clad in wool and buckles made their way across the Atlantic -- plagiarized the chapter in the Bible about forming a republic, called it The U.S. Constitution and then had July 4th fireworks.

The Puritan rule -- early 1600s, the Founding of the United States of America -- late 1700s. There is less time between the Lewis and Clark expedition and Sputnik.

John McCain now famously told Beliefnet that the United States is a Christian nation. Pundits and preachers alike parrot that this country was founded in religion. It's a nifty little sound bite.

The politically ravenous use it as a ruse. The tale is that in the 'olden days' things were somehow better than they are now. More innocent. Free of New Ageism's tolerance and dreaded hate crime bills. If we can just go back to that time -- if we can just get back to the time when we were more devout -- then we'll all be better off. It's elusive, but just around the corner.

It's a fabrication that an exclusively religious -- peaceful and ultimately blissful era ever existed. It can't happen 'again', because it never happened in the first place. The Puritans came to this land to practice THEIR religion without being persecuted and (at least in the Boston colony) quickly persecuted those who didn't practice their religion. Quakers were hanged and tortured for blasphemy. Native Americans were killed for being heathens. And sassers, gossipers and adulterers got their ears cropped or their noses split.

Looking back to colonial days for religious precedent is like looking back at the Black Plague for health care reform.

But for the politically ravenous, selling the idea that a Christian state is a birthright and a good idea -- gets the untaxed revenue flowing. Revising history and bleaching out some of the objectionable stains makes a new sense of purpose by making, well -- 'new sense'!

There is the idea that American Christian's are right and entitled "because we were here first!"

Long SIGH.

So when Christian Conservative leaders threaten to support a third-party candidate because they don't like Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, it's a relief.

It's like when Rick Santorum failed to get re-elected; it proved that we can come back from the brink of theocracy.

And yes, we are having an 'ideological struggle' in the Middle East and that kind of seems like a different way of saying 'holy war', but if James Dobson doesn't see any of the GOP candidates as being his future lap dog -- there's hope.