Inconvenient Truths about the Pilgrims and Persecution

Michael Medved

11/22/2011 5:37:38 PM - Michael Medved
One of the most common mistakes about the background of Thanksgiving involves the motives of the Pilgrims for their risky journey to the New World. Common explanations that suggest they came to Massachusetts to escape religious persecution aren’t remotely true.

Actually, they left England more than a decade before they boarded the Mayflower, and moved their community to Holland, by far the most tolerant, religiously diverse nation in Europe. They left the Netherlands in 1620 not to escape oppression but to pursue purity, to found a model Christian commonwealth far from the corruptions of the Old World.

Their goal wasn’t an open society – they had previously found one in Holland– but a rigorously religious settlement according to uncompromising Biblical principles. Like many subsequent settlers, they came to America to become more, not less, religious.