Friday, October 5

We execute Quakers, don't we?

While the corporate media wraps their little brain around the fact that our Justice Department is pro-torture, Fresh Air has a great excerpt from Garry Will's new book, describing the events leading up to the Massachusetts execution of Mary Dyer, Quaker, in 1660.

And the interview at the same link is the clearest historical argument for separation of Church and State I've ever heard.


  1. I was listening to that interview yesterday afternoon while I was running errands.

    I was pretty sure someone was going to blog about it and I'm glad it was you.

  2. Anonymous8:19 PM

    I'm a direct descendant of Mary Dyer, on my mother's side of the family.

    We also had a witch burned at the stake, so you see, I come by my heresy honestly.



  3. church-state separation is as much protection of religious activities as it is an obstruction to any religious sect attempting hegemony.

    one can also argue that the concept of liberal secular democracy as governmental form  is the logical conclusion of christian thought..... alluding to the impact chritianization of europe had on the enlightenment, and of course how the enlightenment recursively had impact on religion.
    "The profoundest and most wideseeing minds of Greece and Rome never managed to grasp ... the likeness of all men and ... the equal right of all to liberty.... Jesus Christ had to come down to earth to make all members of the human race understand that they were naturally ... equal." --Alexis de Tocqueville"

    given the ideal, the challenge of course is creating form(s) of human governance that allow for the approximation of that ideal....

    no form of despotism, even when coddled by notions such as the "divine right of kings" can suffice in providing sufficient latitude for the primacy of individual rights, liberties and dignity..... no totalitarian form regardless of idealistic utterances has succeeded in either communist or fascist utopia in praxis.

    only liberalism and secular liberal democratic forms have provided the conditions within which the possiblity of applying truly christian principles across all the people; equality and respect for human dignity, is in any way comprehensible or achievable even to a limited degree.

    while ironic, secular liberal governance is the best manifestation of christian thought applied to governmental form.....

    "We hold these truths....."

  4. I heard the interview when it aired. You're right, a great piece, good to highlight.

    And Tengrain, that's pretty damn cool. Sorry for your ancestors' sufferings, but all respect for what they did.

  5. Some cried that she should be ashamed, old as she was, to be holding hands in public with two younger men.
    Good to have ones priorities in order,what?

  6. Any of you who know me from my blog and comments elsewhere, I am both religious and a huge supporter of... no insister of separation of church and state.

    And Gary Wills is the one reasonable person I can look to as I reflect upon my own Catholocism. It should be noted that he is many things, but oddly enough liberal Catholic is not among them.

    That said, he has clarity of thought and use of language that surpass so much of what passes for intellect in this land.

    I must go back and check this out further.

    And we must keep church and state far, far apart. Always.

  7. Anonymous11:47 PM

    Funny how the so called religious right think how cool things were when we were a Christian Nation, I saw a commentary once in some knuckle drag newspaper on that, when I read I I shouted to no one in particular, they HUNG priests and Quakers...
    That whole mindset so reeks of not knowing a fuc@ing thing about US history, and about history of world religion...
    I detest ignorance about our own history.......willful ignorance of where we came from so they can reinvent the past........


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