Wednesday, May 19, 2004

colonial house

pbs is airing a new show, 'colonial house.' recreating a colony in new england from 1628, they've collected a group of people to see if they can live 6 months like colonists - eating what they ate, living by their rules (with some modification) and turning a profit for their 'Company.'

the governor of the colony is a baptist minister from waco, texas. he and his family occupy the highest social rung in the colony's ladder and already there are some problems. primarily, it comes to the purpose of the colony.

the Governor is a very good man; he is earnest, hardworking, compassionate and wants the community to succeed. for a while, everyone looked to him for leadership unquestioningly. that is, until he began to force people to wear scarlet letters and impose some of the stricter 17th century laws in order to create a religious utopia.

while watching the colonists rebel, become sabbath dissenters and watching the women balk at the 'modesty' rules i wondered at the tendency of religious folk to conflate the civic with the religious. (there is a difference between a personal observation of faith and backing that personal observation with the arm of the law - thus, conflation.)

is that tendency for extreme totalitarian fantasies a convenient stereotype? is it an exaggeration?

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