Thanksgiving 2019 is in the rearview mirror and most Americans after having sated themselves on turkey, pumpkin pie and football have turned their eyes toward the Christmas spending season with three short weekends left before the gift giving extravaganza, also known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
But it would be a mistake to forget the Pilgrims and the important role which they played in our nation’s founding until November roles around next year. 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of this seminal event in our nation’s history, and is a unique time for Americans to rediscover God’s providence in our founding.
One thing is certain, the New York Times did not randomly choose the name, 1619 Project, for their expansive effort to deconstruct the legitimacy of Judeo-Christian western European thoughts, actions and human progress in the new world. They chose it as a symbol to attack and delegitimize the origins of America, the greatest experiment in freedom in human history.
This makes the battle over what happened in New England when a small group of Christian “separatists”, now known as the Pilgrims, landed and built their village at an abandoned Cape Cod Wampanoag Indian village of Patuxet a flash point in the shocking fight over America’s moral right to exist.
This group of Christian separatists who rejected the Church of England, along with the subsequent establishment of Boston and the rest of New England by a different group of Christians (the Puritans) who sought to purify King Henry XIII’s mandated Church of England so important, were the heart of what became America in the revolutionary 18th century.
I will leave it to renowned historian Gordon Wood to eviscerate the emphasis which the 1619 Project puts on slavery as the driving force of the American Revolution, but instead will focus upon the religious motivations of the Pilgrims, as a core principle of the left is to deny the Judeo-Christian origins of our nation.
The Pilgrims originally left England for Holland to avoid religious persecution. They were “separatists” meaning they did not wish to reform the Church of England, but instead sought a completely separate Bible-based system of worship. However after a decade in Holland, historians report that church members became dismayed that their children were becoming Dutch, and the new world provided the best hope to establish a separate Godly community.
While about half the 102 settlers on the original Mayflower were not part of the separatist movement, the Mayflower Compact which secured voting rights for new arrivals bound the tiny community together. Within one year, half of those original settlers were dead from cold, disease and hunger, leaving the future uncertain.
On a religious front, in 1611, King James of England had released his “authorized” English translation of the Bible which is still in common usage today, but the separatists and many English speakers of the time retained the Geneva Bible, an English translation from 1560 which included scriptural cross references and other study helps — as their trusted source for the Word of God. William Bradford, the first Governor of the Plymouth Plantation, was so determined to read the unfiltered Word of God, that he learned Hebrew in order to consume the Old Testament in its native language. In fact, Bradford’s headstone bears the inscription, “The Lord is the help of my life”, in Hebrew.
There can be no dispute that the pursuit of a Godly Christian life was at the root of the Pilgrims’ very meager existence.
After initially attempting an economic system of mutual sharing on the shores of Cape Cod, Bradford writes in “Of Plymouth Plantation” that the people were allowed to farm their own land to end their current “misery.” A misery of hunger, poverty and discontent sewed by a system which demanded the strong do much of the work feeling enslaved by the rest as they derived no extra value for their work.
These basic facts — the God fearing and seeking nature of our nation’s earliest founders combined with their practical rejection of socialism will be under attack or buried by those who seek to undermine America’s moral legitimacy through the 1619 Project in the next year.
It is reasonable to hope that the Department of Interior has been creating an historically accurate teaching series about the Judeo-Christian and private property base which undergird the Pilgrim’s experience. Dissemination of the Pilgrims’ truth in schools and throughout our historical landmarks systems to mark the 400th anniversary would be valuable so that our children and adults have a reliable source to reference to counter the likely inundation by the 1619 propaganda barrage designed to kill our country at its roots.
Given the infiltration of those determined to poison the tree of liberty into our governmental institutions, it would be wise, if this has not already happened for all materials to be given a historical review prior to dissemination so that our government does not feed the disinformation cancer which threatens America’s very existence.
Like William Bradford learning Hebrew, America may need to go back to the original source documents in order to learn a history rooted in God and individual freedom, and the 400 year anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth is the ideal time to begin truly rediscovering America.
Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.