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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

 

Monday, June 6 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Ford boycott suspended
(see below)

Cromwell

Like the nearly inscrutable political machinations in Ireland for the past two centuries that are usually reduced to "Catholic against Protestant" and vice versa but in reality are infinitely more complicated than that, knowing what to make of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) is no snap. This is especially true for someone who is positively predisposed to Christian convictions and takes seriously conversion experiences, both of which are generally ascribed to Cromwell and which attracted me to learn more about him during my college history courses. If you can't quite place Cromwell, this is the topic paragraph from the BBC's brief biography by Professor John Merrill:

BBCOliver Cromwell rose from the middle ranks of English society to be Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, the only non-royal ever to hold that position. He played a leading role in bringing Charles I to trial and to execution; he undertook the most complete and the most brutal military conquest ever undertaken by the English over their neighbours; he championed a degree of religious freedom otherwise unknown in England before the last one hundred years; but the experiment he led collapsed within two years of his death, and his corpse dangled from a gibbet at Tyburn. He was—and remains—one of the most contentious figures in world history.

I was reminded of my dormant interest in Cromwell by a one-hour documentary on Sunday night about his brutal subduing of Ireland firmly under British rule during his reign as Lord Protector. What I'd learned of Cromwell, the first-generation Puritan who turned England's Parliament from an advisory council to the monarch into the first democratic ruling body in the modern world, had not included any account of his Irish campaigns. But during my six visits to Ireland as a tourist in the past 11 years I'd become aware of the great animosity still found in the Emerald Isle toward him as one of the most ruthless and cruel military generals in history. After slaughtering the whole populations of towns and cities that resisted his army's advance, he confiscated hundreds of Irish estates and gave them to English gentry, a historic injustice that still inflames anti-British sentiments throughout Ireland.

Long before I first visited Ireland, however, I was captivated by the 1970 movie Cromwell, with Richard Harris playing Cromwell, which romanticized his story as almost a Protestant answer to The Man for All Seasons. Even in 1970 it was rare that Hollywood put out anything positive about Christianity, so I was perplexed at why such a controversial historical figure would be treated so sympathetically. So I asked one of the wisest acquaintances I had at the time and he offered the opinion that Cromwell's reform of Parliament had paved the way for the American experiment in democratic republican government 125 years after Cromwell. And no doubt this sentence in the BBC bio still earns him a great deal of respect:

...He championed a degree of religious freedom otherwise unknown in England before the last one hundred years...


Ford boycott suspended

American Family Association suspends Ford boycott for six months.

Click link above for the story; click here for the Jonal entry about it. Will I now buy a Mustang? We'll see, but don't bet on it.

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A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Perspectives

Drinking makes some husbands see double and feel single.

Sent by Trudy Myers  

Thought for today

Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will.

Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658)  

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