Friday, September 24, 2004

Scrooby Scrooby Doo -- Where Are You?

I wish you'd drive down to Plymouth Rock with me today. Come on, jump in my car, I've got enough gas. It's only an hour from here.

I want you to see the ship too. The Mayflower. What a tin can -- actually it's wooden -- but it's so damned small. It's a shocker. And you look at it, and you realize, these people would risk their lives in this washtub on THAT ocean to get here?! It's incredible.

And you have to say to yourself, WHY?! That much risk and for what?

And so you read this and you start to understand:
The Pilgrims were English Separatists who founded (1620) Plymouth Colony in New England. In the first years of the 17th century, small numbers of English Puritans broke away from the Church of England because they felt that it had not completed the work of the Reformation. They committed themselves to a life based on the Bible. Most of these Separatists were farmers, poorly educated and without social or political standing. One of the Separatist congregations was led by William Brewster and the Rev. Richard Clifton in the village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire. The Scrooby group emigrated to Amsterdam in 1608 to escape harassment and religious persecution.

The next year they moved to Leiden, where, enjoying full religious freedom, they remained for almost 12 years. In 1617, discouraged by economic difficulties, the pervasive Dutch influence on their children, and their inability to secure civil autonomy, the congregation voted to emigrate to America. Through the Brewster family's friendship with Sir Edwin Sandys, treasurer of the London Company, the congregation secured two patents authorizing them to settle in the northern part of the company's jurisdiction. Unable to finance the costs of the emigration with their own meager resources, they negotiated a financial agreement with Thomas Weston, a prominent London iron merchant. Fewer than half of the group's members elected to leave Leiden. A small ship, the Speedwell, carried them to Southampton, England, where they were to join another group of Separatists and pick up a second ship.

After some delays and disputes, the voyagers regrouped at Plymouth aboard the 180-ton Mayflower. It began its historic voyage on Sept. 16, 1620, with about 102 passengers--fewer than half of them from Leiden. After a 65-day journey, the Pilgrims sighted Cape Cod on November 19. Unable to reach the land they had contracted for, they anchored (November 21) at the site of Provincetown. Because they had no legal right to settle in the region, they drew up the Mayflower Compact, creating their own government. The settlers soon discovered Plymouth Harbor, on the western side of Cape Cod Bay and made their historic landing on December 21; the main body of settlers followed on December 26.

What you understand is they would do just about anything to have the freedom to BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANTED TO BELIEVE and not have anyone twisting their arm. We call it freedom of religion.

I'm getting worried people have forgotten what it is. I'm worried people have forgotten why those Pilgrims shipped over here in that floating breadbox.

I'm a Christian but some of my best friends are not. I'm free to go with the whole Jesus story, but I understand and respect the fact that many of my friends think it's bogus. I have no desire to tell them what they should believe. They kindly refrain from telling me why NOT to believe in Jesus.

If I got pregnant and could not have another child, it would be my choice and my partner's choice, nobody else's, to decide what to do. My business, not someone else's. Just as it's not my choice to tell someone who is against abortion that they shouldn't be against abortion. It's none of my business. That's why we live here. That's why we can jump in the car and go see Plymouth Rock today. We can just go there. Nobody can tell us not to go there.

And as for jumping in the car and going somewhere today, I hope you can jump in the car and go REGISTER TO VOTE (in case, GOD FORBID, you have not already registered). Please do it today and remember it's a lot easier to do that than spending 65 days on a leaky boat risking your life, trying to get to Provincetown. Someone already did that for you, the least you can do for them is register to vote.