Jan Comenius, Pastor and Educator

Lead: During the European religious wars of the early 1600s, Jan Amos Comenius, a Czech Protestant pastor, forced to flee his homeland, gained international reknown as one of the founders of modern education.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Unity of the Brethren was one of the communities that grew from the teachings of early Czech reformer Jan Hus. After Hus’ execution for heresy by the Roman Catholic Church in 1415 at the Council of Constance, small groups of the faithful, such as the Brethren, kept alive Hus’ teachings until they found wider acceptance in the Lutheran reformation a century later. After initial gains by Protestants in northern Germany, by the 1570s a re-invigorated Roman Church was determined to reverse the course of reform by any means, spiritual or violent. The conflict between Protestants and Catholics came to climax in the horrendous violence of the Thirty Years War that consumed central Europe from 1618-1648. One of the hot spots of fighting was the Bohemian province of Moravia and it was from that sad, beset land, that Bishop Jan Amos Comenius led a small band of Brethren into Poland and what would be for him a life of exile.





Lead: Considered by many to be the seminal modern thinker, René Descartes remains an integral part of the philosophical canon.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in 1596, the year of the Declaration of Nantes with which French King Henry IV laid the foundation of religious toleration in Europe, Descartes’ work came to symbolize a philosophical break with the way in which people fundamentally organized intelligence and considered the universe.



The Edict of Nantes II

Lead: The creeping revocation of the Edict of Nantes which withdrew religious freedom from French Huguenots was one of history’s most egregious acts of religious intolerance prior to the Holocaust.

 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: In 1598, after several attempts at reaching a settlement between French Protestants, known as Huguenots, and Catholics, King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes. He had been a Huguenot, but converted to Catholicism in order to become the first of France’s Bourbon dynasty. He wanted to achieve some kind of accommodation among his unruly and religiously passionate subjects and after four years of negotiation, issued the great Edict.


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The Edict of Nantes I

Lead: In the long struggle to achieve religious toleration in a Europe torn by sectarian strife, one of the most important milestones on the road was the Edict of Nantes.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the centuries prior to the Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church in France increasingly came under the control of the royal government. With its structure and officialdom filled with the relatives, supporters, political allies and clients of the King and his family, perhaps even more than other nations, the Church in France was an integral part of way the government  maintained its power.

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Berlin Spy Tunnel II

Lead:  In 1954 the Central Intelligence Agency dug a 1400 foot tunnel under the border of East Berlin to spy on Soviet military messages. It was an engineering triumph, but there was one hitch. The Soviets knew it was there.

Intro.: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: George Blake was a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service. During the early days of the Korean War he was captured by the North Koreans and held for three years. Sometime during his prison stay he went over to the other side. In 1954, when the spy tunnel was first discussed by the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6, Blake was in the meeting, took extensive notes, and passed the sketches and drawings to his KGB control officer within two days.

Berlin Spy Tunnel I

Lead: In 1954, at the height of the Cold War, the CIA and British MI6 dug a tunnel under divided Berlin to spy on the Russians. They thought it was a secret.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The city of Berlin during the 1950s was divided east and west and was the focus of much tension between the Soviet Union and the western Allies. It was also crawling with spies. One of those was the CIA's station chief in Berlin, William King Harvey. He received information that the Soviets had laid three telephone and telegraph cables 18 inches beneath the soil near the road to Shönefeld Airport. Over these lines the Soviet military command in Berlin communicated with Moscow. Building on the experience of the British who had conducted a similar but smaller operation against the Soviets in Vienna, Harvey convinced his bosses to construct a tunnel, intercept the cables and tap them.

The Mayflower Compact III

Lead: In the movement toward representative government in the English and American experience there were bumps in the road. Despite their intentions as expressed in the Mayflower Compact the Pilgrims’ settlement in Massachusetts did not lead to greater democracy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The main problem for the Pilgrims, the first of the puritan sects to immigrate to Massachusetts Bay after 1620, was that they needed the talents and participation of all who settled there. Originally the voters in town meetings and eventually the General Court of the colony were called freeman, but being a freeman carried important obligations. You had to show up at the annual meeting of the Court to vote. To miss this resulted in a heavy fine. As the colony spread out and distance became an issue, it became clear that many settlers could not or would become freeman. Anxious to hold the loyalty of all colonists, in 1638 The General Court voted to allow communities to elect representatives or deputies to conduct the business of the colony. Though only freemen could serve as deputies or colonial officials, all male colonials who had taken a loyalty oath and were head of a family could vote.

The Mayflower Compact II

Lead: The Mayflower Compact of 1620 committed the Pilgrims to a just and equal government in their new colony on Massachusetts Bay. Its roots can be traced in surprising directions, but its legacy probably did not lead to increased democracy.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the fascinating characteristics of democracy as it developed in England and the United States is that democratic institutions resist ideology and tend to promote consensus. Among the early proponents of freer representative government were religious ideologues such as the Puritans. They championed the parliamentary cause in two civil wars against King Charles I in the 1640s and many fled to the colonies of Massachusetts Bay after 1620. Their purpose was to secure the right to worship as they chose and to create a godly commonwealth.