We just passed through another Fourth of July without my hearing any mention of Thomas Hooker (depicted here), again.
In this Wikipedia piece about Hooker, a famous Puritan preacher, philosopher John Fiske is quoted about Hooker this way: He helped to create "the first written constitution known to history that created a government. It marked the beginnings of American democracy, of which Thomas Hooker deserves more than any other man to be called the father. The government of the United States today is in lineal descent more nearly related to that of Connecticut than to that of any of the other thirteen colonies."
Hooker's concept of a federal government helped to create, in Connecticut, the first such system of governance in what became the U.S. and, as Fiske notes, was a model for what became our current form of government.
Poor Hooker wound up with a name that later meant a prostitute, but that designation certainly had nothing to do with the good preacher. Nor, as this Free Dictionary entry notes, did it have to do with Civil War Union Gen. Joseph Hooker. The term originated before the Civil War and probably referred simply to one who "hooks," or snares, customers.
At any rate, even though the United States has not wound up as a Puritan (or even Christian) nation, its form of government owes a debt to a Puritan pastor named Hooker. Try to remember that next time the Fourth of July roles around so that three days later you can celebrate his birth and mourn his death.
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40 QUESTIONS ABOUT SEXUALITY
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all states has put many Christians on the defensive because they oppose homosexuality based on their misreading of scripture (see my essay on this subject under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page). Matthew Vines, founder and president of the Reformation Project, writes here, asking such Christians 40 intriguing questions. Worth a read.