Bethel College Professor releases book, Women’s Voices of Duty and Destiny: Religious Speeches Transcending Gender

Lissa Diaz

Peter Lang Publishers recently released Women’s Voices of Duty and Destiny: Religious Speeches Transcending Gender, by Elizabeth W. McLaughlin, Ph.D., associate professor of communication at Bethel College. This is the first book in a series, Speaking of Religion, edited by Dann Brown, Ph.D., Grove City College, Pa., and is available on

The book showcases 14 women leaders and their public speeches that were motivated by religious values. The women are from different faith traditions, addressing issues of human dignity from the 19th century through today.

"The reader will encounter a representative sample of women from all over the world addressing the injustices of her time and advocating for the common good; each address reflects a higher call to love their neighbor,” says McLaughlin.

In the book, McLaughlin presents speakers according to the themes of faith, society, education, reform, freedom and peacemaking.

“Each speaker transcends the traditional gender roles of her culture to speak for the transcendent value of human dignity,” says McLaughlin.

This book is intended as a companion text for students, and others, studying gender, religion, rhetoric and history.

McLaughlin says, “Religious values often are dismissed as only limiting women. But, as this collection shows, belief in the divine and values of faith drive an impulse to speak into the public square to promote and celebrate human freedom and dignity.”

McLaughlin has taught at Bethel for 20 years. She teaches courses in writing and communication and has served as department chair as well as director of Bethel’s writing center. McLaughlin earned her Ph.D., in communication and rhetorical studies, from Regent University and her Master of Ministry from Bethel. Her research interests include visual rhetoric, women’s studies and the rhetoric of religion. Additionally, she has served in four different advertising agencies, including her own, and several nonprofits in public relations.

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