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34
The White Horse : False Rel igion
The Bloody Religious
Battles of the
16th and 17th Centuries
During the period immediately following the Protestant Reforma–
tion , rel ig ious tolerance in Europe reached one of its a ll-t ime historic
lows. In view of some of the major goals of the Reformation , this was
somewhat ironic. Ostensibly , men had bolted from the rule of Roman
Catholicism in order to escape the stif ling effects of its narrow–
m inded medieval mentality. But re lig ious toleration turned out to be
the short suit of the Reformation as well .
Accord ing to one religious historian : " We are told that the Pro–
testant Revolution ultimately favored the growth of tolerance and
even of rat ional ism. Perhaps this is true , but its immediate result was
a great stimulation of heresy-hunt ing all over Europe" (Leo Markum.
Mrs.
Grundy,
p . 34) .
Smaller Protestant sects were some of the pr incipal vict ims of
th is heightened wave of rel igious frenzy . In 1535 leaders of the Ana-