Freedom of worship still under attack
To the Editor,
The freedom to worship God is at the center of the 2016 presidential election.
My ancestors held Puritanical beliefs and wished to worship according to their own beliefs when they first settled in a parish along the Elizabeth River in the early part of the 17th century in colonial Virginia. The land had been granted in 1635 in Upper Norfolk (later Nansemond) County to “George White, minister of the word of God.”
History shows that the Indian attack led by Opechancanough, the brother of Powhattan, in 1644 prevented the English civil war from coming to Virginia, as was noted in John Winthrop’s journal.
My ancestors wrote to Winthrop for a supply of powder and shot, but the request was refused. About a year later, a fire destroyed the powder and shot. Winthrop wrote that it had been God’s hand for the refusal. By October 1646, the fighting had ended.
Those on the Elizabeth River were driven out of Virginia by the fall of 1649, relocating to Maryland. Gov. William Berkeley was the Donald Trump of the 17th century. My ancestors were nonconforming Puritans. The Book of Prayer was at the center of the problem.
The English Parliament had outlawed its use on Jan. 3, 1645. Even though my family was correct legally, they were still driven out of Virginia. So, Trump’s attack on the freedom to worship is as old as Berkeley driving my ancestors from Virginia in the fall of 1649.