June 3, 2012 AD
Forget the Puritans,
(My hat off to CNS commenter Don Hennen whom I once again seriously plagiarized in this post)
When Americans think about religious freedoms, the example which comes to mind is the Puritans. Yet, the Puritans were the height of religious intolerance.
Protestant Puritans did not leave England because English Anglican Protestants were being especially intolerant of them.
Instead, they left England because they thought that English Anglicanism was too corrupting of their people and religion.
Once the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock, they established one of the most regimented, intolerant, witch-burning, religious societies the world had ever seen.
Fact is that, after the Protestant Reformation, the most persecuted religion in England was the Catholic religion.
When Catholics set sail for the New World, they were the ones whom were really were escaping religious persecution.
The colony Catholics established for themselves was Maryland, named after English Queen Henrietta Maria of France, Queen consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the wife of King Charles I. She was mother of two monarchs, Charles II and James II, and grandmother of three: Mary II, William III and Anne. Her Catholic religion made her unpopular in England, and also prohibited her from being crowned in an Anglican service; therefore she never had a coronation.
A nice Catholic
Queen of England.
Also doesn't hurt that Maryland could remind Catholics of the hatred Protestants have for the Virgin Mary.
Yet, knowing full well the brutality of religious persecution, Catholics in the colony of Maryland enacted the first legal code to specifically enshrine religious freedom in law.
Written by the Catholic family of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore and first proprietor of the Maryland colony, whom was Catholic.
Puritans (illegal in Virginia) and Anglicans (illegal in the Puritan New England states) fled to Maryland and were welcome there.
The Puritans showed their gratitude by overthrowing the government of Maryland and making Catholicism illegal and hence persecuted there as well.
Terence P. Jeffrey of CNSNEWS
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