Sunday, November 20, 2005

Roger Williams, Harry Potter

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I thought we should celebrate religious liberty in the United States by honoring the birthday of the great Roger Williams instead of those central-planning social engineers with the blunderbusses and funny hats who landed on Plymouth Rock. I now realize that we can't really do that, because apparently they can't even nail down his birth year (kind of like Zsa Zsa) much less the day. (On the other hand, one of the few things that most biblical scholars agree on is that Jesus of Nazareth was born some other date than Dec. 25.) Anyways, here's a Reason article that references a recent book on Williams from Oxford Press by UC-Riverside scholar Edwin S. Gaustad. Reason excerpts: [Semi-humorous example of ignorance of history] ...None of which excuses our collective amnesia regarding Roger Williams, the first American explicator of religious tolerance and secular government. If ever there was a time to recover his legacy, it’s now, with Christian zealots at home pushing creation science in schools and, far more important, Islamic fundamentalists abroad swearing death to godless infidels... ...In early 1636 he fled [Massachusetts] with his wife and children, wandering the frozen New England landscape for weeks before buying property from Indians and settling Providence, a city dedicated to “Liberty of Conscience,” or true religious freedom. Indeed, even as Williams helped establish the first Baptist congregation in the colonies, he worked to guarantee civil rights for nonbelievers. Later, he would provide a haven for another great religious dissenter, Anne Hutchinson, after her banishment from Massachusetts, and secure a royal charter for what became Rhode Island—the first such English grant to articulate fully secular government.

In other news, my ♥GF♥ and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie this afternoon (Btw, no John Cleese in this one, I noticed). I liked it. It was kind of dark, in the same edgy-but-not-too way that SW Ep3 was. I'm trying to figure out parts of it, still. I think that it has some subtext about al Qaeda and the Global War on Terror, but let me kick that one around before I make a definitive statement. Confession: I have yet to read any of the Harry Potter books. But I will one of these days, I promise. (Even if Harold Bloom gets upset with me.) Here's MaryAnn J.'s review of HPATGOF.


Post a Comment

<< Home