Our Pilgrim Fiends?: Historical Vandalism
They traveled to this land from a great distance, and
in retrospect, their goal was clear: To murder those who did not share their faith.
No, I don't mean members of the al Qaeda terrorist
network: I'm talking about an even more fanatical
group: the Pilgrim Fathers -- or maybe I should say,
the Pilgrim fiends.
Political activists have captured the most all-American of our holidays and want to turn it into a
national day of mourning.
In the pages of Citizen magazine, Douglas Phillips
describes how he took his family to Plymouth,
Massachusetts two Thanksgivings ago and was shocked
at what he found. Atop Cole's Hill -- the burial
ground for Pilgrims who died that first hard winter -- Phillips was startled to see a city truck pull up. Men piled out, carrying shovels.
"We're placing a new monument for the city," the men
"What does it say?" Thomas asked.
"We aren't sure," they answered. "We were just told
to dig the hole. Someone else will put the marker in
"Most revolutions are staged at night," Thomas wrote,
so he wasn't surprised the next day to find stone
markers all over Plymouth designating Thanksgiving a
day of mourning -- a day to recall how the Pilgrims
murdered and stole from their Indian neighbors.
That afternoon, demonstrators -- mostly white college
kids -- celebrated their victory by defacing the
traditional monuments. Plymouth had transformed a
tale of religious freedom into a story of genocide.
The historical reality is totally different. While
it's true that later settlers abused the Native
Americans, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians
lived together in peace for fifty years. They signed
covenants, bought and sold property, and fought
against mutual enemies. In fact, Paul Jehle of the
Plymouth Rock Foundation says the Pilgrims -- as
Christians -- modeled the right way to interact with
a native population -- unlike later settlers, who did
not share their commitment to Christian principles.
Why don't activist groups distinguish between the
Pilgrims and later Europeans? It's because the
postmodern obsession with group identity has led to
the cult of victim politics -- which in turn has led
to deliberate distortions of history.
This is a field where Christians have a unique
contribution to make. Christians view history as a
cornucopia of complexity because we understand the
doctrine of original sin. We know that because the
human race is fallen, people are capable of great
evil. But because we are made in God's image, we are
also capable of great good.
That's why a single person or group may be remembered
for both good and bad behavior. And when we hear a
version of history that portrays an entire group as
all bad or all good, that tells us that we don't have
the whole story.
So this Thanksgiving, go ahead and enjoy the turkey
and pumpkin pie -- and celebrate. The story of the
Pilgrims is one chapter in our history that we can
and should celebrate. But before you begin, make sure
nobody is stuffing you or your family with a pack of
lies. Make sure your family knows that the Pilgrims
were not a gang of Elizabethan terrorists, but
courageous followers of Christ.
More from CBN.com's Thanksgiving Page
More from Charles Colson on CBN.com
Perspectives on the Spiritual Life Channel
From BreakPoint, Copyright 2005 Prison Fellowship
with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry
of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of
Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500."
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