666 Christian Crimes

1800 - 1899

19th Century

This century saw Christian missionaries making great efforts to convert peoples all over the world, using force when necessary. They showed no respect for indigenous cultures, indeed they meant to replace them with "civilized" Christian culture. European governments were quite willing to send military assets to support the missionaries.

[Engh, 210-215, 244, 247]

1801

In Bucharest, Romania, Orthodox priests incited their parishioners to kill Jews by repeating the lies that Jews sacrificed Christians and drank their blood. [Haught, August 1990]

1810

Mexican Miguel Hidalgo was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for using his pulpit to advocate revolution against foreign rule. After that, he was known as "Zorro" to the parishioners. He was executed in 1811. ["Freethought Today," Nov. 2009, 17]

1814

"Pope Pius VII returns to Rome and restores the Inquisition." [Grun, 382]

1814

The Spanish Inquisition condemned artist Francisco Goya for his now famous painting, "Naked Maja." [Kirsch, 187]

1814

At the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church, Christians who observed the Sabbath and followed the laws of Moses were exiled to Siberia. Jews were then excluded from any district where "Sabbatarians" had been found, and were forbidden to hire Christian servants. [Engh, 234]

1815

Mexican Jose Maria Morelos, successor to Hidalgo (see 1810, above), was tried by the Inquisition and shot. [Freethought Today, Nov. 2009, 17]

1818

Spain prosecuted its last person of Jewish origin for heresy. [Kirsch, 193]

1821-34

"... there were seventy-three convictions for blasphemy in England. Most of those were for printing or distributing The Age of Reason." [Engh, 228]

1825

"France makes sacrilege a capital offense." [Grun, 388]

1826

The Spanish Inquisition took its last human life. [Kirsch, 204]

1828

A Catholic Irishman, Daniel O'Connell, was elected to Parliament. After he refused to take the oath of office, which denounced Catholicism, he was not allowed to take his seat. [Engh, 230-231]

1831

In his "Catechism on Revolution" Pope Gregory XVI wrote: "Does the Holy Law of God permit rebellion against the legitimate temporal sovereign? No, never, because the temporal power comes from God." [Burleigh, 116]

1832

Pope Gregory XVI published Mirari Vos, an encyclical against freedom and the separation of church and state. He specifically condemned freedom of thought, speech, writing, the press, and religion. He said "It is in no way lawful to demand, to defend, or to grant [these fredoms] as if they were so many rights that nature has given to man." Freedom of thought would lead to "the ruin of the Church" and freedom of the press is "the most deadly and execrable freedom for which one cannot have enough horror." [Cline, "This Date in History: Freedom of Conscience vs. Catholicism"; Burleigh, 141]

1834

A Protestant mob burned an Ursuline Catholic convent in a suburb of Boston. Thirteen men were arrested. Only one was convicted, and he was pardoned. The Ursuline order was not reimbursed for the loss of their property. [Engh, 247]

1838

Lilburn Boggs, governor of Missouri, ordered the state militia to treat Mormons as enemies and run them out of the state or exterminate them. A few days later during an attack on the Mormon village of Haun's Mill, militiamen found a nine-year-old boy. In response to efforts to protect the child, one militiaman said, "Nits will make lice," and shot the boy dead. [Engh, 241]

1840

Three English publishers were imprisoned on charges of blasphemy for publishing Letters to the Clergy of All Denominations by Junius Haslam. One, Henry Hetherington, accused a respected publisher, Edward Moxon, of blasphemy for publishing Shelley's poem Queen Mab. Hetherington's point was that only cheap publishers were actually punished. Hetherington's contention was proved when, after Moxon was found guilty, the prosecutors and judge let him off with no sentence. [Engh, 231-232]

1841

Charles Southwell was imprisoned for publishing England's first atheist periodical, "The Oracle of Reason." His successor, George Jacob Holyoake, was imprisoned for his "blasphemous" answer to a question from the audience after he gave a lecture. [Engh, 229]

1844

A cannon battle between Catholics and Protestants in Philadelphia killed 20. The fight arose when a Catholic bishop wanted Catholic children in the public schools to read from a Catholic Bible, rather than the King James Version required by the education authorities. Protestant mobs burned Catholic homes and churches. [Haught, 1990]

1847

Lionel de Rothschild became the first Jew elected to the English Parliament. He was denied his seat for eleven years on religious grounds. [Engh, 234]

1854

The Crimean War started when the Ottoman sultan declared war against Russia. The Czar had declared Russia protector of Christians and holy places in Ottoman lands. [Haught, 1990, 153-154]

1854

"Pope Pius IX declares the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be an article of faith." [Grun, 418]

c.1857

The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa enforced church separation, thus providing a justification for apartheid. It set a precedent for separate educational institutions for Afrikaners, English and the native African population. The new Calvinism of Abraham Kuyper played a key role in the evolution of this ideology. His view of Christianity was intended to counter the new freedoms of the Enlightenment. [Nieder-Heitmann]

1860s

Western missionaries had reduced Hawaii's native population by 90%. The Reverend Rufus Anderson said that the situation was similar to "the amputation of diseased members of the body." [Stannard, 244]

1860

The Haitian government gave the Catholic church special privileges. [Engh, 248]

1864

Pope Pius IX, in Syllabus Errorum, condemned rationalism, liberalism, modern civilization, and the idea of progress. Other errors he included were the state's not excluding all religions other than Roman Catholicism, and stating that the pope should accept modern civilization. [Grun, 426; Williams, 2003, 21]

1864

The Haitian government and the Church tortured and executed eight people during a campaign to eliminate the native Voodoo religion. [Engh, 248]

1865

A letter from Odo Russell, representative of the British government to the Vatican, to the British Foreign Office reported that Pope Pius IX said to him: "That liberty of conscience and toleration I condemn here [in Rome], I claim in England and other foreign countries for the Catholic Church." [De Rosa, 21]

1870

The First Vatican Council proclaimed papal infallibility when speaking ex cathedra, i.e. when speaking of doctrine or morals applicable to the Church as a whole. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "General Councils"; Grun, 432]

1872-79

Ethiopian Christian emperor Yohannes IV ordered all Muslims, Jews and pagans to become Christians. The penalty for disobedience was forfeiture of all property. His actions included forced baptism, tithing, and holy day celebration. [Engh, 257]

c.1878-1903

Pope Leo XIII forbade Catholics to participate in the new Italian state elections. His purpose was to prevent the separation of church and state, which he termed an "American" idea. [Williams, 2003, 23]

c.1878-1903

Pope Leo XIII approved capital punishment for heretics and other rebels who are not deterred by other penalties. [Ellerbe, 38]

1878

Heinrich Treitschke, a German historian, started an anti-Semite movement. [Grun, 438]

1879

"Anti-Jesuit Laws introduced in France." [Grun, 438]

Early 1880s

Atheist Charles Bradlaugh was repeatedly denied his seat in Parliament for refusing to take the oath of office. The oath had to be taken with a hand on the Bible, and the member had to swear "by the true faith of a Christian." [Engh, 232-233]

1881

"Persecution of Jews in Russia." [Grun, 440]

1882

Liberal Czar Alexander II was assassinated by bomb-throwing nihilists. One of six sentenced to death for the killing was a Jewish woman. Mobs then looted and beat Jews. Severe anti-Jewish laws were passed, and Moscow expelled 35,000 Jews. [Haught, 1990, 150; Engh, 234-235]

1885

"The Mormons split into polygamous and monogamous sections." [Grun, 442]

1890s

An estimated 200,000 Christian Armenians were killed by Muslim Turks. [Haught, 1990, 154]

1890

A policy of genocide by American Christians eliminated 80% of California's native-Americans when that state joined the Union. [Stannard, 145]

1893

An alliance of churches, missionaries and sugar growers overthrew Hawaii's Queen Liliuo Kalani. [Leedom, 278]

1896

Catholic Christian Haiti banned Voodoo religious services, Voodoo shrines were destroyed, and practitioners were arrested. [Engh, 248]

Late 1800s

The czars helped anti-Semitic groups to incite Orthodox Christians in order to divert public attention from rebellion. Pogroms occurred in the 1880s, from 1903 to 1906, and during the 1918 revolution. The pogroms of the revolutionary period saw 530 communities attacked and 60,000 Jews murdered. [Haught, August 1990]



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© R. Paul Buchman 2011