Letters to the Editor

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MARRIAGE: Puritans believed marriage to be a civil contract

Letter by Sally I. Sharrard, Tacoma on Feb. 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm | 30 Comments »
February 28, 2012 5:38 pm

Re: “Don’t trample religious rights” (letter, 2-28).

Apparently, the letter writer would like Americans to go back to the early 1600s England when the English church, as part of the government, conducted most, but not all, marriages.

The Puritan founders of our country specifically did not consider marriage as a religious action but instead considered it as a civil contract under law and the authority of the government. They followed many of the religious customs of the East Anglian Congregationalists. They were very specific about this and wished to include divorce as a possibility.

Perhaps, the writer has not thoroughly studied or understood our American beginnings. The Puritans chose to make a new start out from under the mixed church and government rule. They were “Separatists,” after all.

I would rather pay homage to the belief of my country’s founders than to some church established by a government in England or, for that matter, the pope. My ancestors came over on the Mayflower, and I honor them for bringing an enlightened view.

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