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The Rise of Modern Secular "Religions"
baptist Church were publicly tortured and then killed in Munster,
Germany, in an effort to stamp out what many Protestants and Cath–
olics considered to be a dangerous heretical movement.
Several years later, Unitarians fleeing from the wrath of Rome lit–
erally walked from the frying pan into the fire when they arrived in the
Calvinistic stronghold of Geneva, Switzerland. Calvin , himself, had
their leader , Michael Servetus, burned at the stake for denying the
trin itarian theory (which, incidentally, is another major myth of main–
line Christianity; for information on this subject, write for our free
booklet /s God a Trinity?) .
Religious passions ran anywhere from hot to torrid during this
period . Witch-hunting broke all previous records. More than 10,000
people perished in Germany alone during the height of this craze .
The British Isles also found that the religious violence wh ich had
infected the Cont inent was quite contagious. Henry VIII had both
Cathol ics and Lutherans burned and beheaded for so-called acts of
heresy. Bloody Mary duly earned her famous nickname when she
made an abort ive attempt to re-Catholic ize England . And Cromwell ,
the Lord Protector, didn ' t protect many Catholics when his armies
sacked the city of Drogheda, Ireland . Civilians were massacred in the
streets and no quarter was given to the clergy . Friars and priests
there died almost to a man .
In France, church and state combined to make life unbearable
for the Huguenots. The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572
was perhaps the crowning achievement of their efforts. Ten thousand
Protestants lost their lives in Paris, and in the ensuing weeks the car–
nage spread to the outlying regions of the country . In 1577, Henry Ill
tried to alleviate some of the persecution , only to be driven from the
capital for his efforts. By 1643, moderation prevailed temporarily . The
Huguenots were militarily and politically disenfranchised , but allowed
to retain their freedom of conscience. Even th is concession was too
much for the French Catholic clergy . They embarked on a campaign
of forced conversions and deprivation of c ivi l libert ies that eventually
forced more than 250 ,000 Protestants to flee France.
Most of this sectarian insanity culminated in the Thirty Years '
War, which , before it was over, involved every major nat ion in Cont i–
nental Europe . Germany became the sacrific ial lamb and the com–
mon battleground for the warring contestants . By the end of the war
her c ities were in ruins , many of her villages were deserted , and her
economy almost prostrate.