Letter: Puritans in modern America

To the Editor:

My God, I feel like I’m living in a time warp, that I have been transported back to the 17th century when Puritans in New England lived by a rigidly enforced moral code. The Puritans came to the American colonies to seek religious and social freedom. Having gained it, they denied freedom to others. Puritans believed that God has chosen a few people, “the elect” for salvation. Being the elect of God, they felt justified in severely punishing people who disagreed with them. At its worst, they hung twenty people, mostly women, as witches.

Puritanism is still very much alive in the Christian far right. Having gained power through the Republican Party, they want to enforce an uncompromising moral code that opposes abortion under any circumstances, outlaws homosexuality and gay marriage, opposes the teaching of concepts in schools contrary to their own, prohibits contraception, takes away the rights of transgender people, and punishes people who would defy their beliefs through punitive laws.

The Christian right has somehow gained political control and is attempting, with considerable success, to take away from the American people the freedoms that those who preceded us fought and died for. They have done so by ratcheting up control of the Republican Party through successive decades of employing a tactic of no compromise and aggressive pursuit of political office. Their belief is that they are right, and everyone who disagrees with them is wrong because, obviously, they are simply carrying out the will of God. If they are allowed to continue to have their way, contraception will be banned, as will same sex-marriage, transgender people will have no rights at all, and we will become the laughing stock of the entire world.

If the Christian right is allowed to achieve their draconian goals what’s next: outlaw dancing, punishment for people who don’t celebrate the Sabbath? Their thinking belongs in the 17th century when Puritans controlled their society with zero tolerance for any beliefs not their own. This is not conservatism, it is retrogression. It is not democratic, and it is a pernicious danger to our free society.

Jim Curry