The Chicago Tribune
March 8, 2016
As the March sun rises higher in the sky, this year’s National Women’s History Month shines a light on women in public service and government. The honorees–U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); former Governor Ella Grasso (Connecticut); Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, (First woman Chief of the Seminole Tribe) and others–have helped to shape a more just world through their courage and determination.
There’s another woman, little known today but well known a century ago, who changed the course of history through her vision and dedication to helping others. In 2001 her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, was recognized by the Women’s National Book Association as one of “75 books by women whose words have changed the world.” This book, which unites science with Christianity, was first published in 1875, and since then it has sold over 10 million copies and been translated into 16 foreign languages.
Eddy also started the Church of Christ, Scientist, which has branches in 60 countries all over the world, and in 1908 she founded the Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.”
Through her writings, her Church, and her newspaper, Eddy offered the world a way to turn intelligently to God as an aid in combating evil, including prejudice, poverty, injustice and even sickness. Based on the Bible, her writings proclaim that we have a spiritual nature, created by God, and that as Her child we express divine qualities such as wisdom, courage, strength, affection, wholeness and mercy. At the back of Science and Health, she included 100 pages of letters by readers illustrating how this higher, spiritual concept of themselves radically improved their lives by healing, and awakening to God as Principle and the Christ-spirit always present to mankind.
In some cases, the impact on readers has rippled out to bless countless others. For example: Marion B. Jordan, former National Field Secretary of the NAACP, found these words from Eddy’s book to be of great value in her work: “The history of our country, like all history, illustrates the power of Mind (God), and shows human power to be proportionate to its embodiment of right thinking. A few immortal sentences, breathing the omnipotence of divine justice, have been potent to break despotic fetters and abolish the whipping-post and slave market; but oppression neither went down in blood, not did the breath of freedom come from the cannon’s mouth. Love is the liberator.”
This reliance on God, divine Love, as the liberator of mankind, gave Jordan the courage to face prejudice and bigotry, as well as the vision to help establish the Negro Educational Emergency Drive, which over a ten-year period aided over 8,000 students in paying for their education (see Living Christian Science, pps. 126-127). Even though Mary Baker Eddy was not a political activist, she advocated for everyone’s rights as a child of God, including the right to freedom from hate and suffering. Her writings, especially Science and Health, continue to be read worldwide today, liberating her readers from issues such as fear, anger, addiction, contagion and illness.
As we gratefully recognize the many women in our country who have inspired us with their courageous words and deeds, let’s also consider Mary Baker Eddy and these words of hers: “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right.”
*Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson is a self-syndicated columnist writing on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. He is also the media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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