The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay colony sentenced Anne Hutchinson to banishment from the colony because they considered her a religious dissident. The charges against her were both vague and obscure. In reality, Mrs. Hutchinson represented a double threat for the government and the church of the colony. Her religious ideas challenged both the Puritan orthodoxy in New England, and the traditional role of women in Massachusetts’ Puritan society. Although the New England Puritans believed that men and women were spiritually equal, that does not imply that they believed they were equal in other means.
Each member of the colony knew its role and its place in society. Wives, as the author says, “were expected to help with the supplement of their husbands’ public activities.” # As mentioned before, women dynamically participated in religious activities in order to strengthen Puritanism in the colony. Nevertheless, they were not considered religious leaders; they just followed what the church ordered. Winthrop believed that, “women should be submissive and supportive, like his wife and sister, and there was ample support for his position in the Bible.” # In a way they thought God designed women to serve their husbands. This placed women in a position below men, which in consequence meant that women were subjugated to what men decided, and it is important to note that church was lead by men. Therefore women did not have a voice or a vote regarding religious matters.
H2>SHOULD WOMEN BE ORDAINED IN THE PRIESTHOOD? The question of the ordination of women to the priesthood has moved to the forefront of theological controversy in recent years, prompting a swamping of books, and religious opinions. This controversial issue stems not only from the renewed interest of the Catholic Church in the nature of its priesthood, but also, and perhaps predominantly, from ...
Wheeler mentions that Winthrop called Hutchinson a person of “nimble wit and active spirit and a very voluble [fluent] tongue.” #Authorities in the colony feared Anne’s ability to promote and lead a growing number of women and men; they saw this as a threat to their own authority over the colony, and they could not tolerate that kind of behavior. Mr. Winthrop said to Anne that she was “one of those that have troubled the peace of the commonwealth and the churches here; you are known to be a woman that hath had a great share in the promoting and divulging of those opinions that are causes of this trouble.” # He accused her of being Antinomian. Her brother-in-law, John Wheelwright, was a banished Puritan minister with Antinomians beliefs. She was also involved with John Cotton, a Puritan minister that, as Wheeler said, “helped fuel the Antinomian cause as well as Anne Hutchinson’s religious ardor.” # The General Court could not permit the spreading of these ideas, which they considered heresy. Even during the trial, she continued to challenge the court’s authority by saying: “But now having seen him which is invisible I fear not what man can do unto me.” # This was also part of her Antinomian belief of being free from “the man-made laws of both church and state, taking commands only from God, who communicated his whishes to the saints.” # She said God revealed to her; according to the “covenant of grace”, this made her a “saint.” Whether the court agreed with this or not, she believed she had the holy right to disobey men’s laws.
“I desire to know wherefore I am banished?” #, Anne asked this to the Governor after the court decided the verdict, to which he responded: “Say no more. The court knows wherefore and is satisfied.” # This answer shows that the trial was a mere and useless procedure, since they decided Anne Hutchinson’s fate even before she was officially accused. Anne Hutchinson was an innate leader, a passionate Puritan with radical ideals. Her fanaticism about religion lured people into her beliefs, making her a serious threat for the traditional Puritans of New England.