- Text smaller
- Text bigger
The first goal of the Jamestown settlers who arrived in Virginia in 1607 to create a nation was to spread the Gospel, according to a new memorandum being given to guides at the historic location where settlers beat the Plymouth Pilgrims to the New World by 13 years.
The memo was distributed after WND reported those guides were gagged from talking about the location’s historic Christianity, a situation revealed when Pastor Todd Dubord’s tour group was told over and over the Jamestown settlers were dispatched primarily to make money for the Virginia Company of England.
Already, officials at the historic location have confirmed the gag was being lifted – and a number of new programs, presentations and efforts are being implemented — to ensure an accurate portrayal of history.
Jamestown is where what later became America was introduced to the millennia-old, Christian common law tradition, the first Protestant house of worship, the first Christian conversions and a vision of a republican representative government, and for this year, ongoing events are planned to mark Jamestown’s 400th anniversary.
The new memorandum is titled, “Teaching about English Motivations for Settlement in Virginia,” and asks the dozens of guides who work at the site to “include all three major motivations for settlement in your tour and program presentations, from now on.”
“The first motivation mentioned in the 1606 charter is to spread the Christian religion. The statement below is made by or on behalf of King James to the major investors in the Virginia Company,” the memo said.
Wee, greately commending and graciously accepting of theire desires to the furtherance of soe noble a worke which may, by the providence of Almightie God, hereafter tende to the glorie of His Divine Maiestie to suche people as yet live in darkeness and miserable ignorance of the true knoweledge and worshippe of God and may in tyme bring the infidels and salvages living in those parts to humane civilitie and to a setled and quiet governmente…
The memo said it obtained the documentation from two primary sources, the original charter granted by King James to the Virginia Company on April 10, 1606, and the London Council of the Virginia Company’s “Instructions given by way of Advice,” dated between Nov. 20 and Dec. 19, 1606.
“Until permanent changes can be made to the guided tour outline and other training materials, please refer to the points below as the correct information to include in your discussions of motivations for settlement,” the memo said.
“The English strongly believed it was their duty to spread the gospel and convert the indigenous people they encountered to the Christian faith, specifically the Church of England. In addition, King James recognized the importance of establishing English colonies, as a counter to the energetic colonizing efforts of the Spanish, their long-time rivals. As the Spanish established colonies in the Americas, they zealously converted the native people of those regions to Roman Catholicism. King James, as the head of the Church of England, wished to establish a foothold for Protestantism in the New World, for both spiritual and political reasons,” the instructions continue.
The second goal of the “joint stockholding company” was for the purpose of “making a profit” from the raw materials investors hoped to find in Virginia, the memo said.
“A large part of the 1606 charter is devoted to the rights of the investors to discover and profit from “all the landes, woodes, soile, groundes, havens, portes, rivers, mines, minerals, marrishes, waters, fishinges, commodities and hereditamentes whatsoever” in Virginia. They were given instructions to “dig, myne, and searche for all manner of Mynes of Goulde Silver and Copper aswell within anie parte of theire saide severall Colonies.”
In third place was to search for a river route through the continent of North America to the Pacific Ocean or “Other Sea,” the memo said. “This was the Northwest Passage which Europeans long believed would provide faster access to the East Indies and the highly desirable and expensive silks and spices found there,” it said.
In the second charter, from 1609, instructions also were added to seek any survivors from the 1580’s settlement of Roanoke, the “Lost Colony” near what is Manteo, N.C., today, officials said.
“Many of you have been presenting programs here for several years or more, and it can be a challenge to adjust information that has become a routine part of your program. Please make a concerted effort to become comfortable with the changes, and begin including them immediately. We can always improve the scope and accuracy of our presentations, and in this case the changes achieve both these goals,” the instructions concluded.
Joseph A. Gutierrez, Jr., senior director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, told Dubord he is comfortable that the new instructions include the necessary balance of religious and secular interests.
“We take our responsibility to share history very seriously and constantly solicit input from visitors, educators, and a host of people on how we can do a better job. We appreciate the fact people care enough to take time to communicate with us,” he said.
The situation developed when the California pastor led a group of visitors through the area, and noted that Christian artifacts were overlooked. Then when he asked a question about replicas of the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer, “our guide responded … by saying that she was ‘unable to speak about the plaques. We are only allowed to say they are religious plaques.'”
Gutierrez earlier confirmed that the managing board had approved new interpretive programs for 2007, including new church-based programs such as “Tolling of the Bell: Religion at Jamestown” which is being added to the existing church programming, “The Law and the Lord,” and “Rule of Law.”
Two additional programs, “Jamestown Sermons” and “Origins of the Anglican Faith” are to be added, he said, and a new introductory film, “1607: A Nation Takes Root,” and new galleries that “trace the central role Christianity played in life in the 17th century” are being developed.
Dubord had lobbied the site, which involves both private foundations and federal agencies, after his visitors’ group was told that religious issues were, essentially, off-limits for guides at the community established in 1607.
“While the tour guides at the Jamestown Settlement and Museum were cordial and informative on many points, we were all caught off guard by their unwillingness (yes, unwillingness) to discuss Jamestown’s religious roots. As one of the tour guides was leading us through the very heart of the replica of the community, the Anglican Church, we asked if she could speak about the significance of the three religious plaques on the wall in the front of the church: the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed (the same are in the Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg),” Dubord, of Lake Almanor Community Church, had reported earlier.
He said the guide reported being able to identify them only as “religious.”
At the same time Dubord was raising his concerns, Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries, was making the same case, in a different manner.
His outrage was over the removal of Christianity from virtually every portion of the location’s 400th anniversary events, and it prompted him to announce the Jamestown Quadricentennial: A Celebration of America’s Providential History for June 11-16.
Those events arranged by Vision Forum will include the settlers’ Christian heritage, because Phillips said the war over the accuracy of the historical presentations “is one of the most significant battles of our day. It is the battle for our history.”
“Jamestown’s Christian legacy of law and liberty is significant,” Phillips told WND. “The vision for settlement at Jamestown was first communicated by a British cartographer and preacher named Richard Hakluyt who hoped the Virginia settlement would be a beacon for religious liberty. The Virginia Charter for 1606, both empowering and governing the Jamestown settlement, was expressly rooted in the Great Commission of Holy Scripture.”
He said it certainly is good that some of Christianity’s significant contributions are being restored at Jamestown, but he said the entire anniversary campaign still lacks anything that could be described as adequate in its recognition of Christianity.
“The documents on the websites are horrific and shameful, and events themselves are laced with the most offensive revisionism,” he told WND. For 350 years, the celebrations of the Jamestown founding always have included Christianity’s role, but this year, it is not only being excluded, but being “corrected,” he said.
“They are doing the best they can to minimize references to God,” he said, citing bookstore offerings that promote “spirit gods” but are a vacuum when it comes to a representation of the historical Christian record.
“It’s down on western Christendom, up with spirit guides,” he said.
And when confronted with existing historic markers that reference the Bible and its influence, the contemporary programs answer by saying, “The people of the past were wrong,” he said.
“The whole thing is rife with revisionist displays, from the movie all the way through the dioramas, they paint the picture of Europeans who came over as elitist barbarians and the savages were noble and advanced,” Phillips said.
He was especially distressed that such a 400th anniversary is a first – and only – such event for this nation. “I always want to be the first person to say thank you even when my opponents do the right thing,” he said.
But he said the organizers already have made it clear they want to turn history into pluralism at Jamestown, “meaning every religious bent, except the really historic Christian one, is going to get its day in court.”
When Dubord made his request for an review of the information, U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr., R-Va., added his endorsement.
“We are overlooking the true facts of our history if we ignore the importance of Christian faith and religion to these early settlers,” he said in a letter to Philip Emerson, executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
“Historian Sydney Ahlstrom notes that, ‘From 1607-1619 the colony’s religious affairs were guided by the Virginia Company, which framed its laws and sent out ministers in the capacity of chaplains,” Dubord wrote. “Early governmental figures ‘met in the choir loft of the Jamestown church as America’s first elective assembly.’ According to Ahlstrom, their enactments included morality, in which:
“immoderate dress was prohibited; and ministers were to reprove the intemperate, publicly if need be. There were fines for swearing, and excommunication and arrest for persistent sinning. Morning and afternoon services were required on Sunday, and neglectful persons were subject to censure. The governor set apart ‘glebes,’ or lands to support the church and ministers in each of the four parishes into which the colony had been divided. To promote evangelism among the Indians, each town was to educate ‘a certain number’ of natives and prepare them for college. There was even talk of founding a missionary ‘university’ at Henrico … “
DuBord wrote in his research that his tour took him to Jamestown Settlement, run by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation for the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is adjacent to the Historic Jamestown, run by the APVA Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service.
DuBord has documented similar efforts to edit Christianity from the historic references at the U.S. Supreme Court and Jefferson’s Monticello estate, and also has that research, as well as his Jamestown research, available on his church website.
To obtain Pastor Todd DuBord’s research on this issue, as well as research into the editing of Christian references at the U.S. Supreme Court and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, visit the Lake Almanor Community Church website.
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.
Are you a representative of the media who would like to interview the author of this story? Let us know.
Related special offers: