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Ann Hutchinson and Jarena Lee

Essay by review  •  October 13, 2010  •  Essay  •  817 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,405 Views

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Written by a student from uncc for Mr. McCloud.

Men are not the only people who played an instrumental role in religion. It is true that for most of Western history, religious leadership and power have been restricted to men. It is also true that women were excluded from theological education and even from lay leadership in most Christian denominations until quite recently. Until women like Ann Hutchinson and Jarena Lee decided not to but on the back burner any more. They decided to stand up for what they believed in and defended women's rights.

Ann Hutchinson stood trial alone, with no lawyers to defend her. She was charged with heresy and banished from Massachusetts Bay in 1636. Hutchinson believed that people could communicate directly with God without the help of ministers or the Bible. This was in direct contradiction with the established religion. Local ministers taught that people could only find God by following the teachings of the Bible and that only they could interpret the Bible correctly. During this time all ministers were men, they believed that women should obey man at all times and that women should not teach religion because they were not intelligent enough.

One of Ann Hutchinson "crimes" was expressing religious beliefs that were different from the colony's rulers, during that time it was against the law especially for a woman. Making matters worse, she held meetings in her home to discuss religion that was a common for Puritan in England. She believed that God had spoken to her directly, and that only God could be her judge. Anne was drawn by the excitement of this religious struggle and based her opinions on the study of the Bible. Although in some areas, she did disagree with Puritan doctrine, she was still a devoted member of the church and agreed with the majority of the Puritan principles. Her purpose in expressing her opinions was not to break down the church but rather to make positive change in those areas where the church was in error in her opinion.

In 19 century, women were still prohibited by social and religious custom for preaching. Jarena Lee experienced a dramatic conversion when she was 21 after hearing a sermon by Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Lee said, "As if lightening had darted through me, I sprang to my feet, and cried, 'The Lord has sanctified my soul!'" (132-133). Her religious awakening in 1804 stopped her from committing suicide and years later, she felt God's call to preach. Lee then dedicated her life to evangelizing her first mission was challenging the prejudices against women as ministers of God. Jarena Lee felt that if man could preach the word of Good so could she especially after God said to her "Go preach the gospel, I will put words in your mouth, and turn your enemies to become your friends." Although Lee had Allen's blessing, people were hostile to her because she was black and a women. Lee became a traveling



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