The New Puritanism: Chick-fil-A and Boycotts

I had planned to avoid the Chick-Fil-A brouhaha for the reason Sarah Pulliam Bailey lists here:  seriously, people, this is news?  In case you’ve missed it, Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays.  They’re not exactly the most liberal group and have been that way since the beginning. 

But now Chicago is doubling down on Boston’s wariness about letting in new restaurants, all because Dan Cathy said–well, what exactly did he say again?  Apparently not what the media reported.  But then no one needs details when the fury’s afoot.

Chick-Fil-A

This, of course, is not the first boycott we’ve seen this year.  Starbucks was dumped by a goodly number of people for moving gay rights to the center of their brand.  We talked about the ethics of boycotting around that time, and the conversation will doubtlessly come up again.

But not today.  No, today I want to explore a different angle:  the rise of the new Puritanism, the legalistic restriction of our choices and options based on the erosion of services as services because they’re now statements.

My friend Jonathan Merritt raised a reasonable question amidst the rest of the furor:

I’m flummoxed that so many consumers are so quick these days to call for boycotts of any company that deviates from their personal or political views. For one thing, boycotts rarely cause actual pocketbook – rather than PR — damage. Most consumers don’t care enough to drive an extra mile to get the same product from someone else. And that’s especially the case for companies as large as Chick-fil-A, which has prime locations on many college campuses where there is little head-to-head competition.

But my bigger question is this: In a nation that’s as divided as ours is, do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed? And is this really the kind of culture we want to create? Culture war boycotts cut both ways and are much more likely to meet with success when prosecuted by large groups of people, such as Christian activists, who are more numerous than gays and lesbians and their more activist supporters.

Let’s work through this slowly, but not with much detail.  We’ll fill that in later, if the big picture proves worth it.

It seems to me that we’re going to see more of these sorts of boycotts going forward, and that the cultural pressure creating them has been at work for a while.  Two interwoven threads, specifically, seem to be significant:

First, if you buy (while appreciating the irony) the story of consumerism, then purchases aren’t simply the sorts of things that fill a need but are rather ways in which we express our “identity,” our most deeply held values.  They are, to use an Augustinian turn, expressions of our loves and those loves make us who we are.  TOMS Shoes is trying to do good and that’s part of the appeal.  But it’s also got cultural cache that comes with the brand.  You’re not just wearing shoes, after all, as much as joining a movement.  Nike had “Just do it” and all the hipsters decried advertising, but TOMS offers “One for One” and now we smile and nod.  It’s the same sort of identity expression, except with a more socially minded gloss.

And there is the corollary development in all this:  the self-conscious turn by the corporation from maker of products to expresser of values.  Think through the two major boycotts this year, Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A:  which of those had to do with the products the company produced?

It be folly to think that companies have ever escaped having values.  Yet those values seem to have been, well, tied to their products.  Industry.  Thrift.  Quality construction.  Chick-Fil-A’s decision to close on Sunday’s is a decent example of this:  I suspect it doesn’t actually hurt their bottom line nearly as much as people think because everyone is happier and more productive the other six days.  It makes a better product through creating a better workplace.  But what, pray tell, has Starbucks’ support of gay marriage to do with their internal “culture” or bottom line?

You can judge the transition, I think, by contrasting these boycotts with those from years past.  The Religious Right took on Disney and K-Mart, most famously, but for slightly different reasons than people are protesting Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A.  In Disney’s case, well, they were making content that the Southern Baptists didn’t much like and were hosting parties at Disneyland that the Baptists wouldn’t attend.  K-Mart owned Waldenbooks, and they sold porn.  In both cases, it wasn’t simply the internal “culture” or a commitment to tolerance:  there were products that were coming out of those values, products that a constituency saw fit to reject.  We don’t have to agree with those decisions to note that something has shifted.

The effect of all this, I think, is a new form of Puritanism that is slowly throttling our society.  The irony of the intolerant tolerant has often been noted.  But the problem goes far deeper than that:  it’s that as the expressions of our identity continue to expand, intolerance will continue to take a more visible form.  That mocha-frappacino is no longer just a drink  and your chicken sandwich now signals your values.  And once that game starts, then everything’s in play.  The end result will be that moral judgment will happen easier and faster than ever, and always without the benefit of a hearing.

There’s more to be said on all this, no doubt, including exploring more closely the reasons why politics and consumption are increasingly intertwined.  But if I am anywhere in the neighborhood of “right,” then it means that these sorts of boycotts will hardly be the last of their kind.

Update:  Two accessible and worthy books on the consumerism problem, written by two friends of mine.  Skye Jethani’s The Divine Commodity is a great treatment, and though it has a very different style Tyler Wigg-Stevenson’s Brand Jesus is fantastic as well.

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  • http://www.monergism.com John

    While you article may have good content it is very unfortunate that you have chosen to call moralism “puritanism” when in fact the puritans were the most Christ-centered, gospel-loving, God honoring folks that ever hit Christendom. They were beer drinking and amzing brothers who produced some of the best literature in Christian history. They were the first to call out moralism/legalism so to somehow use their name in association with with the nonsense going on today (whether from the right or left) is an unfortunate use of the term. Just a thought.

    • rey

      The Puritans were immoralist Calvinist turds who hated morality and perforated the tongues of anyone who lived right instead of lived a life of sin and said “justification by predestination!”

      • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

        Dear Rey,

        It’s not often that folks get themselves banned from the comments at Mere-O, but you are a hair breadth away from being one of the first. Please do discuss in a more civil and less vulgar way.

        Thanks.

        Matt

    • John

      Ummm… Ever read the Weber thesis? While I admit that the puritans were obsessed with God, they were so only from an existential desire for signs of salvation (aka immortality) that were expressed (from God) through profit. The least Christ-like folks I can imagine. Admittedly, this could not have been all the puritans, as the puritans were pretty diverse. However, read the Weber thesis and notice that the protestant work ethic (read puritan) displays a congruence to our culture that is pretty apparent. As far as I’m concerned greed and God don’t mix, though the puritans, albeit in a very strange way, put the two in a blender and made a seemingly tasty cocktail.

  • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

    John,

    Heh. I wondered how long it was going to be until someone made that critique. You are *fast!* : )

    Matt

    • Keith Miller

      Yup, as soon as I saw the title, I came on here to chide you for it. Have you ever delved into their bad reputation at any length?

      • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

        Keith, some. Not extensively, but I do love me some Edwards!

        • http://lifemoreabundant.me Coralie

          I was coming to lodge the same complaint, and it is, for someone who claims to speak for a portion of orthodoxy, a pretty grievous one. I enjoy the site (especially the rare times Kevin White posts) and will continue to read, but as much as I would like to link to the content of this post, I can’t because of the title.

          The American puritans laid the groundwork for almost every part of orthodox American Christianity (not to be confused with Orthodoxy, with which they had no connection) We owe them a great debt and a greater level of respect.

          • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

            Trust me: I like the rare times that Kevin White posts a lot more than when I do, too. : )

            That said, the label is not meant as one of disrespect *in the least.* Think of it ironically: by repudiating the sort of careful ethical reflection that folks like Edwards were good at, society becomes the sort of gross caricature they’ve always resisted.

            Best,

            Matt

  • http://www.benjaminasimpson.com Ben Simpson

    “There’s more to be said on all this, no doubt, including exploring more closely the reasons why politics and consumption are increasingly intertwined.”

    I’ll be excited to see when this sentence is unpacked. Why is it that our brand choices have come to reflect something of our moral character, rather than the fruits of our moral character itself? Why is it that we seem to project morality upon a larger brand consciousness, demonstrate allegiance to that brand through an act of purchase, and consider that a vast and significant step toward our own moral development? How is it that we can believe we are good, without tending to the inner work necessary to become good (a work that Christians believe is not fundamentally their own, though they do indeed have agency)?

    Boycotts are not worthy of the headlines they grab pertaining to economics, but in regard to their potential to spark public, democratic, reasoned, and civil debate. As you’ve pointed out, it is the indignation, and the new orthodoxy among some elites, that is the problem here, and it may run deeper than the intolerant tolerant.

    • Steven

      “Why is it that we seem to project morality upon a larger brand consciousness, demonstrate allegiance to that brand through an act of purchase, and consider that a vast and significant step toward our own moral development?”

      Interesting comments. This sentence in particular made me think of indulgences in the lead-up to the Reformation. Giving money to a cause is a pretty easy way to identify with it, regardless of how hard you actual struggle to promote it. And identification is a pretty fundamental thing these days.

    • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

      Ben,

      All worthy questions. I may muse about them here soon.

      Matt

  • http://skyejethani.com Skye Jethani

    Matt,

    Thanks for making the connection between these boycotts and the larger atmosphere and values of consumerism. Indeed, a drink is no longer just a drink, a chicken sandwich is no longer just a chicken sandwich. Branding has corrupted the way we relate to everything…including God. That fact that some Christians will feel more “Christian” by eating at Chick-Fil-A is equally problematic.

    Thanks for your thoughtful writing.

    Skye

    • Ed Burton

      … but, buying a pair of Toms shoes totally makes me more Christian right? #sarcasm

    • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

      Skye,

      Thanks much for the kind word!

      “That fact that some Christians will feel more “Christian” by eating at Chick-Fil-A is equally problematic.”

      Right. Totally agree. I tried to make the point above a more universal one, so as that no one could escape. But this is a more helpful and clear way of putting the problem on the Christians’ side.

      Matt

    • http://judkossum.wordpress.com Jud Kossum

      And now I feel dirty for drinking Starbucks.

      Man… a caramel macchiato sounds really good right now.

  • Steven

    Matt, I agree that the choice of “Puritanism” is unfortunate (although that’s not entirely your fault – the word simply has a negative connotation), and it’s not exactly clear to me *how* the rising culture of boycotts and services-as-statements consumerism is “puritanical”. That said, I think this is a really insightful and interesting analysis. I also like how it elaborates on some of the material in your book about identity consumerism. Well done, and thanks.

  • http://www.sometimesalight.com Hannah

    In a more mundane observation:

    “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the h— they’re doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self:” –Tom Hanks as Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail.

    • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

      Et tu, Steven?

      “and it’s not exactly clear to me *how* the rising culture of boycotts and services-as-statements consumerism is “puritanical”.”

      What about this sentence: ” But the problem goes far deeper than that: it’s that as the expressions of our identity continue to expand, intolerance will continue to take a more visible form”?

      In a sense, the moral judgment is increasingly not going to be able to take in any other factors than the *fact* that someone ate at Chick-Fil-A etc. And that’s going to lead to a certain sort of reactionary judgment.

      Does that help at all?

      matt

      • Steven

        “Et tu, Steven?”

        Now that just makes me feel bad – like I stabbed you in the back or something… ;-)

        Let me just reiterate that I like this piece a lot. And now, on to Puritanism (which is a pretty minor and nit-picky point, I admit)… Maybe I’m just knee-jerk reacting a bit, but on first reading the piece my impression was that you are upholding the typical stereotype that the Puritans were exceptionally legalistic (4th paragraph) and intolerant (3rd paragraph from the end – including the update). I’m certainly no expert on the topic, but from what I’ve read about it I guess that the stereotype of course has some truth to it (as most stereotypes do), but is also an overly hard and one-dimensional caricature (as most stereotypes are). And in fact, those are not necessarily the two descriptors that first come to my mind when thinking about characterizing the Puritans.

        But where I really start to have trouble seeing how consumer identity is a form of Puritanism is when the “legalism” and “intolerance” you have in mind are given content: “restriction of our choices and options based on the erosion of services as services because they’re now statements” and “as the expressions of our identity continue to expand, intolerance will continue to take a more visible form”. This may just be a case of ambiguous syntax, but it reads to me as if you are drawing a parallel with the earlier Puritans’ alleged “erosion of services … because they’re now statements” and their concern with “expressions of identity”, which as far as I’m aware have nothing to do with the original Puritanism.

        If, on the other hand, I’m simply reading more into the parallel than you intended (which is likely, I think), then what’s left seems to be simply the words “legalistic” and “intolerant”, which now-a-days are often simply name-calling (for that matter, so is “puritanical” in some ways). Hence, I have a hard time seeing the connection between consumer identity and Puritanism.

        I see from one of your other comments that you wrote: “Think of it ironically: by repudiating the sort of careful ethical reflection that folks like Edwards were good at, society becomes the sort of gross caricature they’ve always resisted.” So, is your use of the word Puritanism meant to be sarcastic? This doesn’t help clear up the confusion for me….

        But again! this whole issue is really just a footnote to the real content of your piece, which I think is excellent – one of my favorite pieces by you, if not my favorite. It’s the sort of thing that I think you do particularly well – see issues from a different and unusual perspective that sheds a lot of light on the situation and gets other people (like me) thinking about and discussing it.

        • Steven

          “In a sense, the moral judgment is increasingly not going to be able to take in any other factors than the *fact* that someone ate at Chick-Fil-A etc. And that’s going to lead to a certain sort of reactionary judgment.”

          Sorry, I forgot you had written this, too. This actually does not help me, because it simply adds two more stereotypes that might as well be name-calling: “judgmental” and “reactionary”. How did the Puritans make moral judgments that were only able to take in facts of some sort? Concrete examples of what the Puritans did that are parallel to the Chick-Fil-A boycott would be helpful…

          I hasten to add that I know you well enough (and your book!) to know that name-calling is not in your blood. But it kind of comes off as name-calling by my reading.

          • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

            Steven,

            My usage isn’t meant to be sarcastic. Irony is not sarcasm: the very caricature (and note that I called it a caricature) that we have created about the Puritans is the caricature we have become. That’s not sarcasm: it using a caricature against those who use it.

            Or something like that. When I first started out, I really meant it colloquially, as in “legalistic.” I figured there would be an objection, but the accusation that I’m somehow engaging in “name-calling” is not one that I had expected.

            “This may just be a case of ambiguous syntax, but it reads to me as if you are drawing a parallel with the earlier Puritans’ alleged “erosion of services … because they’re now statements” and their concern with “expressions of identity”, which as far as I’m aware have nothing to do with the original Puritanism.”

            No. If the Puritans were legalistic, they were so for different reasons than we are today.

            Look, would it help if I decapitalized “Puritanism” in the piece? I personally think the attempt to try to find one-to-one correspondences between Puritans then and now stretches the piece WELL beyond it is trying to go in its usage of the term. And it’s worth noting that “Puritanism” has multiple dictionary definitions, one of which includes a “scrupulous moral rigor” which the actual Puritans may or may not have had.

            I figured that some people would complain, but the accusations that I’m engaging in a form of slander or name-calling are really surprising to me. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say that folks were being a little Puritanical about word usage. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?).

            (Also, that was a joke. I only claim for myself Chesterton’s line about joking about those things that we take seriously. Kevin White is going to drop in here at any second and destroy me. I can tell.)

            But really, if decapitalizing the word helps at all I am happy to do it.

            Best,

            Matt

          • Steven

            “I hasten to add that I know you well enough (and your book!) to know that name-calling is not in your blood. But it kind of comes off as name-calling by my reading.”

            Reading my own words again now, I realize that this could easily sound like an accusation, along these lines: “It’s not in your blood, so why are you doing it?” Let me assure you that’s not the way I intended it. What I meant was “It’s not in your blood, so I know that’s not what you’re doing.” What I mean by “name-calling” is perhaps an idiosyncrasy of mine and sounds harsher than I meant – I certainly did not mean to imply that you are being slanderous in any way.

            Best,
            Steven

          • Kevin White

            Matt,

            I am not a destroyer, and I’ll bury in prose whoever says it!

            A little more in the post to show that you are ironically twisting the Puritan caricature could have been nice, but this is Mere-O–the posts are always already too long, like this sentence.

            But I can agree with you saying, “Down with the New Puritanism!” So long as I can look at the best of the old Puritanism and mutter, “Forward the Banner of Truth!”

            Cheers,
            Kevin

  • http://thefrailestthing.com Mike

    Matt,

    An additional thought comes to mind. As I considered this whole fiasco, it seemed to me that the boycotting impulse is in part a response to the breakdown of public reason. What I have in mind is the situation described by Alasdair MacIntyre in the opening of After Virtue. Unable to reasonably debate differences in a consequential manner, it would seem that we are left with acts of will. Of course, in a consumer society what other form could such action take than marketplace transactions. Perhaps we can describe it as the commodification of public debate. Like war, boycotting is politics by other means. It is weaponized consumption in the twilight of reason.

    • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

      Mike,

      This is hot stuff. Thanks for the comment. I usually turn to O’Donovan in my thinking on these things, but I actually think he gets at something very similar with his points about the decay of practical reasoning and the rise of *technique* and instrumentalization. O’Donovan never really unpacks the social dimensions of that decay, at least not in what I’ve read (or can remember), but it would be very interesting to read them side-by-side and see what pops up on this.

      Matt

  • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com JF Arnold

    “First, if you buy (while appreciating the irony) the story of consumerism, then purchases aren’t simply the sorts of things that fill a need but are rather ways in which we express our “identity,” our most deeply held values.”

    This is a tough point for me, generally speaking. I’ve been trying to work out what it means to be a consumer in a world where companies are global, where their money (which at some point was my money) could be going to any number of causes, and where it would be nigh impossible (if not completely impossible) to research each and every purchase I make. Even the research would likely be done through a computer built by a company whose morals I simply do not know. Provided, of course, we can even talk about “the morals of a company.”

    While it is clear that many treat the products they interact with as identity markers, I’m relatively quick to reject that the sorts of sandwiches I buy significantly alters who I am. Maybe I don’t want to support a company for some shady business practices (Monster Cables is one example, at least for me), but that has more to do with a disagreement about business itself. I’m not quick to stop eating at Chick-Fil-A because of some political statement, partially because my money is intended to reward them for making a delicious chicken sandwich. While I don’t want to say that intention is all that matters, I do think it is important to keep in mind that we are primarily talking about money that compensates for goods or services.

    Maybe I just don’t buy the story of consumerism.

  • Gabe Moothart

    As another data point, this reminds me of Credo Mobile (http://www.credomobile.com/), which sent me an advertisement the other day. It’s an entire phone company marketed to those with progressive values. Very strange.

  • http://www.anotherthink.com Charlie

    Despite the criticisms of your use of the phrase “new puritanism,” I think it heads the discussion in the right direction. My take is that Christians for decades have been worried that the abandonment of Christianity by more and more of society would lead to some sort of cultural anarchy as God’s law was set aside for “do-whatever-seems-right-to-you” relativism. And yes, that has happened. But what I think has surprised us is that the rise of secularism has apparently created a demand for a new legalism — society hasn’t thrown off God’s law to pursue freedom, but has straight-jacketed itself with a wholly new, and in many cases more onerous, set of laws.

    The law of “the right of all humans to pursue love in any shape or form that pleases them” is the law that Chick-fil-A is accused of subverting, but there are a great many others, and we become quite unglued whenever someone threatens one of these laws with their narrow Christian ideals.

    It makes me think that we have some sort of inner desire (Imago Dei?) to live within the context of law, some law, any law. Even though we protest that we want nothing more than to be free from arbitrary laws such as God has imposed, we have no sooner set down those laws when we find ourselves voluntarily lifting an even weightier set of laws, and simultaneously guilting everyone around us to obey them.

    • rey

      “But what I think has surprised us is that the rise of secularism has apparently created a demand for a new legalism — society hasn’t thrown off God’s law to pursue freedom, but has straight-jacketed itself with a wholly new, and in many cases more onerous, set of laws.”

      Exactly. Protestantism by throwing of God’s law has bound the Devil’s law on us. I’d push it back further and blame Augustine and even Paul for this. You deny the need for God’s moral law, and in comes the Devil’s law “Thou shalt not avoid adultery! Thou shalt not avoid murder! Thou shalt not live right!” In fact, this law is what Paul teaches in *some* passages, like where he insinuates that if you are keeping God’s Law you are “fallen from grace.”

      The total moral anarchy that Protestantism has brought to society will have to eventually destroy Protestantism and create a return to moral-Law-based religion. And that can’t happen too soon in my opinion. God damn Protestantism. Amen.

  • Sean Scott

    Clearly our materialistic/consumer society places so much of our identities on our “stuff” because we worship our “stuff” instead of Christ, from whom our identity really arises. We really should be giving thanks to God for blessing us with our coffee and sandwiches, right after we beg for forgiveness for being too close to our sin that we fail to see that it is clouding the big picture. Good piece, sir!

  • Eric E

    There also seems to be some therapeutic value in boycotts (as well as do-good, feel-good marketing schemes like TOMS or the Product RED campaign or even fair-trade coffee). That is, if we buy the story of consumerism and we also realize that almost all of us are enmeshed in that story whether we like it or not, then boycotts allow us to assuage the guilt we feel for being part of that story (while at the same time doing nothing else to separate ourselves from that story).

  • Garry Geer

    I don’t think that our Christian culture can really tell how we have been warped by our consumerist tendencies. We believe that consumption in and of itself is something to be recognized and lauded (What did you do this weekend? I finished watching season 3 of Pawn Stars!!). While I believe that all of our actions carry a moral value as to how they glorify God. I think that we pile too much weight on some actions and thus deprive others of their true benefit.

    I hope I’m not reading too much into Paul, but when confronted with the question, “Where do I buy my meat?” Paul essentially says “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Possibly Paul is saying, “Don’t start a battle on another front. You have too much going on already.”

  • Adam

    Holy hero worship, Batman. Who knew that you could not invoke a common meaning of the term “Puritanism” on a Christian forum without bringing the wrath of God down on your head? I mean, come on people, it’s not like all Puritans were saints or that many of them did not do things that helped give us the term “puritanical” with its now common usage. Doesn’t anyone remember that Cromwell too was a Puritan?

  • Matt H.

    General props to MereO. I enjoy the very thoughtful writing.

    (And apologies for being johnny-come-lately to this post.) I’m wondering if anyone (particularly Mr. Anderson) has any thoughts on what I think is a fundamental difference b/t the call (from the right) to boycott Starbucks and the rallying to support Chick-fil-a… that is, in this chicken nonsense we have men in seats of government authority (Boston, Chicago, DC) making statements about prohibiting a company from doing business precisely because of their beliefs (read: “expression of religion”, freedom of conscience). I think this rises to a very different level of concern than some celebrity or MSM hissy fit, or a business affirming conflicting values.

    In the broader ‘boycott’ conversation I generally agree with your points and would cite Russ Moore’s blog post on the subject. But I’d suggest the statements from government officials are very much cause be concerned to rally on behalf of [insert company] and–with the power of our wallet–make a statement to affirm (if nothing else) the 1st Amendment.

    Thus, yesterday I patronized the Chick-fil-a food truck and gobbled up what DC Mayor Gray called “hate chicken” not because I wished to make a statement about marriage. Rather, we need to make it abundantly clear government and its officials have no business making those threats.

    • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com Matthew Lee Anderson

      Matt,

      Thanks for the kind words. And FWIW, I agree that the silly statements by those elected officials deserve a different kind of response and a different degree of support by consumers. That’s an excellent point, I think, and one that I wish I had made myself.

      I also think that’s partly why this story snowballed as it did. Without Menino in Boston saying what he did, I think the whole thing goes away a lot more quickly.

      Thanks again for the comment. Really helpful.

      Matt

  • Rebecca Robinson

    This is a really good article. I’m not comfortable with boycotts and you, sir, have just put your finger on one of the reasons why.

    And now to pick on the first poster a little bit — the Puritans made some of the greatest contributions to Christian literature? Okay, they’ve got Spenser and John Bunyan and Milton, but what about Dante, Waugh, Graham Greene, C.S. Lewis, George Herbert, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, J.R.R. Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, Sigrid Undset, Charles Williams, Dosteyvsky … Well, perhaps it’s a matter of taste.

    • margaret Davis

      Stacking the Puritan writers against the rest of Christendom does indeed leave the balance on the side of the non-Puritans, but it’s hardly an equal sampling.

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