Chapter 6-1: East Coast Adventures

One sunny afternoon we drove into Pennsylvania Dutch Country, home of the Amish. For the British, one of the peculiarities in North America are the various and wide ranging strange religions. To see a horse drawn buggy clip clop past us with a couple dressed in simple black outfits was startling. It was like being in a time warp. They were a throwback to the Puritans and the time of Oliver Cromwell, who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholics.  Supposedly he was an intensely religious man, except his treatment of Catholics in Ireland has often been described as genocidal. After five years of Puritan rule and dour black clothing under Cromwell, the British sensibly moved forward with their lives, and welcomed back King Charles II, the son of unlucky King Charles I who was beheaded by Cromwell. Now it was the Puritans who were persecuted, and many fled to Holland hoping for a better reception. Trouble is the Dutch were far too tolerant and libertine for the severe Puritans.

Amish Buggy

So the poor Pilgrims left the old world for the new world not to escape religious persecution, but because they were not allowed to inflict their beliefs on other people.

The strength of America lies in the separation of  Church and State. A great country rises above religious divisions and seeks to unite people. At the end of the day we all want to live happy, joyful lives. We want the best for our families, friends and communities. We want to practice our faith without fear and intimidation. Once we start to impose our brand of Christian faith on others in the name of Christ we sink back into the cruelty and misery of religious persecution so far removed from the true message of Christ or Allah or Buddha or any of the saints that have walked this earth.