January 11, 2007

History and faith

Surfing tonight, and thinking about dominionism, which made me look up D. James Kenney--who I discovered suffered a pretty severe heart attack last month. (He appears to be improving.)

Over at Carlos' blog, ubub and I have argued with someone about revisionist history, which most people misunderstand (I believe), and use the term mostly to describe historical explanations they don't like.

So, anyway, while surfing on Kennedy's wackjob site, I discover this little quote that I think illustrates truly bad history. In their Impact Newsletter, in an attempt to support chaplains in the military, and probably only Christian chaplains, the author writes:
America’s fighting men have relied on the services of chaplains since America’s founding. When military leaders disagreed in 1637 over how to wage battle against the Pequot Indians, they sought counsel from Rev. Samuel Stone, of the Church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut.
Increase Mather, in his Early History of New England, reported that Rev. Stone spent “the remaining Part of the Day, and the following Night … in spreading the Case before the Lord, and seeking his Direction….” The next morning, Stone announced God’s will for the attack route. That advice was followed and the Pequots were defeated.

See? The Pequots were defeated, so keep the chaplains in the military. Make no mistake, I have no problem with the chaplain program, but this "christian" newsletter takes a historical massacre and brutal attack and turns it into a "victory." Here are a few other descriptions:
On May 26, 1637, with a force up to about 400 fighting men, Mason attacked Misistuck by surprise. He estimated that "six or seven Hundred" Pequot were there when his forces assaulted the palisade. Some 150 warriors had accompanied Sassacus, so that Mystic's inhabitants were largely comprised of Pequot women and children. Surrounding the palisade, Mason ordered that the enclosure be set on fire. Justifying his conduct later, Mason declared that the holocaust against the Pequot was also the act of a God who "laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling [Mystic] with dead Bodies." [10] Mason also insisted that should any Pequot attempt to escape the flames, that they too should be killed. Of the 600 to 700 Pequot at Mystic that day, only seven were taken prisoner while another seven made it into the woods to escape.

The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors who had fought alongside John Mason and John Underhill's colonial militia were horrified by the actions and "manner of the Englishmen's fight . . . because it is too furious, and slays too many men."[11] Repulsed by the "total war" tactics of the Puritan English, and the horrors that they had witnessed, the Narragansett returned home.

Believing the mission accomplished, John Mason also set out for home. The militia became temporarily lost, but in doing so Mason narrowly missed returning Pequot Indians who, seeing what had occurred, gave chase to the Puritan forces to little avail.
Perhaps this is why conservative evangelicals lack credibility on historical matters. It also makes it very difficult to take their stance on Iraq, for example, when they are so willing to consign historical victims of a massacre to a simple "victory."


ubub said...

I dispute your assertion that I am arguing. There you go being a revisionist again. Liar.

Truly, I am trying to find out what vision of historical methodology underlies various claims. The author of the original post lays out their view while critics simply repeat assertions contrary to the original piece. I could guess as to what they think and how they got there, but that's not the true spirit of dialogue.

Then again, maybe if assertions are simply repeated often enough, and loudly enough, no additional information will be needed and understanding will emerge. Huzzah.

JoeG said...

Don't feel too bad ubub, he revised me right out of existance! I had a post in that thread too ya know, Streak! Bastage! :)

And as far as the Pequot's go, they got the last laugh over the chaplains...a mega-money producing casino right here in CT! Can't keep a good Pequot down!

Streak said...

Bastage? Is that a "Johnny Dangerously" quote? I love that movie. "Ah, the lower east side...It really sucks."

I will repeat that ubub is a dangerous liar and possibly a communist. And possibly a deist. Or worse...

ubub said...

At first, I misread that and thought you said "And possibly a dentist." I thought, "bastage!" Then, I re-read it, and thought, oh, De-ist. OK.