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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Trial of Anne Hutchinson

Captivating History is an ARC I read and write reviews for and I don't mention them often on here. They cover a wide range of history and topics. I'm mentioning this one. This is a book that NEEDS to be read.
The trial of Anne Hutchinson speaks volumes to us today. It's about freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of religion against power hungry tyrants of conformity.
The writers of this book have to explain the reasons why the Puritans first came to America and the division between the Church of England and those who wished to purify it. I also explains religious splitting of hairs within this group once they get here.
The main bone of contention we would call today is Orthodoxy and Priesthood of the Believer. The terms used here are COVENANT OF GRACE over COVENANT OF WORKS.
John Calvin is the founder of the Puritans. The book quotes him as saying that "the covenant of grace lead the believer to perform good works."
Founders are always misinterpreted. Just look at the followers of Christ!
The main problem here is that church and stare are one. Religious law is in charge. The preachers of works are the ones in control. The believers in grace, if they're men are tolerated. If they are women like Anne Hutchinson they instruments of the devil.
There was a practice at this time known as a "conventicle." It was home meeting during the week to discuss the sermon from Sunday. Anne held these and they became popular. Mostly women attended them, but a few men did, among them the Governor Vane.
When Governor Vane was replaced by Governor Winthrop, the new man saw the covenant of grace belief leading to dissention, and sinfulness. After all if all you have to go to heaven is simply believe, they you could do all kinds of evil and still go to heaven.
Winthrop and the works preacher start enforcing on the people good works by making them not sin. If they're caught sinning then they're punished. Stocks, mutilation, the Scarlet A for adultery, etc.
The issue is spirit of the law versus letter of the law. 
Anne Hutchinson was convicted and exiled. She was pregnant at age 47 and walked 60 miles in winter through snow to Rhode Island. She miscarried a deformed baby and Winthrop used this to prove his case that she was cursed by God.
Golly Gee, isn't that what we're going through in the good old U S of A today?
Preachers still say anything that's bad is God's wrath because of Gays and Abortion.
Women are still second class citizens. Trump got elected by the religious works assholes because Hillary was a baby murderer. Grace wants separation of church and state. Works wants to enforce God's law. Freedom is on trial today and the forces of tyranny are in power. 
400 years later and none the wiser.


Anonymous said...

Wow; sounds like quite a good and relevant book.

Berthold Gambrel said...

It didn't let me enter my name for some reason, but the above anonymous comment is me.

P M Prescott said...

Thanks, Berthold for both comments.