Category Archives: United States

The Indian Advocate, Nov. 1, 1905, Critiques Puritan Treatment of Native Americans

…thirty-two exterminated native tribes…

I’ve been trying to understand the possibility that someone could be “spiritually enlightened” and radically unethical, at the same time.

Or, how someone could be wise enough to send down through the ages spiritual insight yet foolish enough to kill those who got in the way of worldly progress.

Here’s a perspective from The Indian Advocate newspaper, published Nov. 1, 1905:

“When the government committed itself to the Anglo-Saxon policy of civilization, reflected and enacted by the Puritans; it turned out to be, as might have been anticipated, not only of problematical advantage and uncertain success from an ethical standpoint, but disastrous to the fair repute of the nation and fatal to the life of the Indian. The melancholy humor of the somewhat timeworn witticism that ‘when landing upon Plymouth Rock, the Puritans first fell upon their knees and then upon the aborigines,’ is so unassailably in accord with historic facts borne out by the bloody roster of thirty-two exterminated native tribes, that the droll comment ‘it was a pity that the Puritans landed on Plymouth Rock instead of Plymouth Rock landing on the Puritans,’ has more than a semblance of retributive justification. ‘The Puritans,’ says an historical writer in a volume fresh from the press, ‘adopted the Cromwellian method in which they had been bred and trained. They extinguished the Indian title (to lands) by the simple, sure and irrevocable expedient of extinguishing the Indian.’”


Is the Left Coast church-oriented?

The Barna Group pollsters have released their survey of the most important relationships in the lives of Americans.

One of the most interesting findings (to me) came in a section regarding social networks. Participants were asked to rank which groups, like church, the workplace, hobby clubs, etc., were most important to them.

“Unexpectedly, residents of the West were more likely to list their church group than any other group,” the survey’s press release said.

Note that word unexpectedly. I guess that means we all have certain expectations of the West, that we presuppose it is a liberal-leaning part of the U.S. After all, according to the survey, only 12 percent of self-identified political liberals said their most important relationship was with God, versus 33 percent of political conservatives. So church wouldn’t seem like a priority in those states.

The Baylor University student newspaper reported on the Barna survey and included some interesting comments from the school’s reputable theologians (like Roger Olson) and religion-department scholars; the article is available here.

The Barna survey results are available here.

-Colin Foote Burch