Mary Barrett Dyer didn't stop to ask if the people of New England who were being beaten and whipped (with scarring for life), imprisoned in Boston and New Haven prisons without heat during polar blizzards, fined into poverty, having their property confiscated and given to the religious magistrates to dispense, or were hanged, were "worthy" of her sacrifice.
Mary Dyer purposely left a place of safety on Shelter Island, literally crossed the ocean to get to Providence, and walked more than 40 miles through dangerous wilderness, to give up her life if the theocratic government would not rescind their "bloody law" against non-conformists. She didn't sneak into Boston: she boldly appeared there when there were hundreds or thousands more people in town for the annual elections and superior courts.
She wasn't an obscure, no-name bumpkin: she was a co-founder of Portsmouth and Newport. She was the wife of the first attorney general in America, an admiralty court judge, the commander-in-chief of the Anglo-Dutch war in New England waters, and solicitor general of Rhode Island. She was better educated than many men of her generation. She'd been reprieved from the gallows seven months before, in a scripted drama cooked up by the governor, his staff, and several ministers, because they knew killing her would antagonize the many people who respected and sided with Mary.
Mary defied that theocratic government to call attention to their brutality and injustice, and was prepared to die to stop their practices and spare people of conscience. People like Quakers and Baptists, and those who didn't share the same beliefs as the oppressors. And she went through with it, even when she was offered her life if she'd just leave Massachusetts.
That's what love does. That's what a mother would do for her children, and other peoples' children, young or old. And whether or not we carry Mary Barrett Dyer's DNA, we are all her children because of her civil disobedience unto death. That was love. Be like Mary. Love one another, whether they're worthy or not. It will change your life. And it will change the world.
Christy K Robinson is author of these books:
We Shall Be Changed (2010)
Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)
Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This Vol. 2 (2014)
The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport Vol. 3 (2014)
Effigy Hunter (2015)
And of these sites:
Discovering Love (inspiration and service)
Rooting for Ancestors (history and genealogy)
William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)
Editornado [ed•i•tohr•NAY•doh] (Words. Communications. Book reviews. Cartoons.)
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