On an Immigrant Group

Moving to another nation can one of the most traumatic events in life even if one is leaving a bad situation and seeking a better life. A group of religious dissidents made the choice to leave their families and the way of life they knew and seek another place. These people, who had been persecuted for their beliefs in their home country, came to Holland to seek the freedom to live and work and worship the way their consciences dictated. In their home country, they had been marginalized and their livelihoods had been taken away, and they were so grateful for the opportunity to start life over again in Holland.

The small group settled in Leiden, near the university, and many of them quickly found work in the textile industry of that city. Others took up the trades and jobs they had previously had in their home country. The university made a strong effort to incorporate the new immigrants into the community; they offered free classes and training, they gave the group a place to meet to hold their religious services, and they provided language training as well to help the newcomers better fit into Dutch society.

For roughly a decade, the group flourished. But, then, they began to worry about the influence the open Dutch society was starting to have on their families. Their kids were growing up not knowing their native language. They were adopting Dutch mentalities and attitudes towards, well, everything, including inclusivity–the very inclusivity that had welcomed the immigrants in the first place. So, because of their own prejudices and intransigence, the religious refugees decided to move again as difficult as the move would be on their families and the group as a whole.

The United States would do well to emulate the Dutch with regards to how we treat those seeking the freedom to live the way they wish to live, whether they are from the US or immigrants seeking a better life. As we look at those things we are thankful for, we might do well to re-examine the basic freedoms of mankind upon which the nation was founded–the freedoms of life, liberty, and to pursue those things that make one happy.

Oh, that religious group? They looked for a place where they could raise their families free of any so-called negative influences, to create a society of their own choosing without any real oversight or control. And a place where their kids wouldn’t grow up wearing wooden shoes.

They chose Massachusetts.

You know them as the Pilgrims.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s