annonA religious fanatic is someone who takes his or her religion tothe extreme, letting it control everything in his or her day to day life.The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay colony are a prime example of thisextremist view of religion. They had com plete religion based livesincluding the laws that they wrote, the way they treated outspoken women,and the way they treated people of other religions.
The Puritans, for themost part, were good people, they just went way too far when it came totheir r eligious beliefs.In the late 16 hundreds, the Puritans wrote their laws accordingto what the Bible states in the Old Testament, and to what they thoughtshould also be a sin against God. These laws made some very petty andinsignificant things illegal; such as worshipp ing a God other than theLord God, cursing the name of God, a child over 16 cursing his parents,and being stubborn or rebellious against one’s own parents. Thepunishment for all of the afore mentioned laws and for many others wasdeath. Even interpr eting a preacher’s sermon in a different way wasenough to get in trouble with the law. And for one woman it did.The mix of being a woman and committing an act against the churchwas even worse.
Anne Hutchinson was a woman in the Puritan society withher own religious views. Ones that she shared with a select group ofpeople in the community when she held small meetings at her home toreevaluate and reinterpret what the preacher had said in his sermon. Forthis she got arrested, put on trial in a severe cross-examination, and wasfinally banished from the community. In this day and age, sharing ofreligious vi ews, even from a woman, wouldn’t even be thought of as bad,much less a serious crime. But to the Puritans, having different views ofGod’s word was enough to have a person put to death.
Even if they werefrom a different community all-together.The peace-loving Quakers lived in Massachusetts along side thePuritans, but did not believe in the same things as them. The Puritancommunity saw this as a demonic act and believed them to be “under thestrong delusion of Satan.” Serious injustices we re done to them, and mostof the time it was to innocent people. People were kept days withoutfood, women were stripped stark naked, one lay neck and heels in irons forsixteen hours, many were banished, and many more beaten to near death.This mistrea tment of the Quakers went on for years before the King ofEngland finally made a decree to end all of the persecutions.
All ofthis, merely because they weren’t the same religion.The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay colony were good people, butthey went so far off the deep end with their religion that they sacrificedtheir plain old human kindness and forgiveness. They just didn’tunderstand that there were other things in lif e than their religion. ThePuritans were the true definition of religious fanatics; they couldn’tcontrol their religion so they let their religion control them.