Talk:Religious persecution

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The part after (grammatical errors to be reviewed) is completely unacceptable and should be deleted as soon as possible. There is definitely no use for the "information" from such an obviously uninformed and illiterate person.

Question for Librarian. What is the source of Sadducees tolerating some level of participation in public cults? Just wondering? Danny 01:03 Jan 29, 2003 (UTC)

My encyclopaediac and occasionally fallible memory.

A little googling has only turned up this:,5908,268622-,00.html+Imperial-rome+jews&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

the librarian

Okay, I don't think the statement is entirely accurate, but I will try to find some sources to back up an alternative position. Essentially, accommodation is not the same as adaptation of religious ritual. Will check it out tomorrow. Thanks. Danny 01:35 Jan 29, 2003 (UTC)

-Accomodation might have been what I meant. It's perhaps a matter of perspective: I'm sure the Pharisees would see the Sadducees as adopting foreign traditions whereas the Sadducees would see it as accomodation. the librarian

It is a good try but what should be added is the discussion about cults & new religious movements e.g. Falun Gong that feel or are persecuted or are stigmatized. What about the intolerance of Muslims against Hindus Andries

Persecution In Protestant England[edit]

I'm amazed to read that religious persecution in Protestant England limited itself to fines.

The article on Henry VIII is a lot more accurate in mentioning torture and executions, as do most historical sources. The info in this page comes from a book that only deals with the POST reformation period, which seems a tad dishonest to me. It's like saying that just because a book on 20th century history mentions ONE trial for witch-craft in rural America, there have never been trials for witchcraft, or that there has only ever been one trial and then the charges were dismissed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Merge with Persecution[edit]

Why single out religious persecution? as mentioned by a person below, there are numerous examples of persecution against atheism. Why not just call it what it is - Persecution plain and simple??

By this page even existing, it validates the claims by ignorant individuals that religious persecution is somehow a different a special kind of persecution when in fact it is the same as every other kind of persecution.

Come on guys, lets get some NPOV going.

Al Queda[edit]

Did Al Queda attack the US because the US is too secular???? LOL. Bin Laden clearly stated in several dozen tapes why he has declared war on the US: the US troops in Saudi Arabia and Palestinian issue, or now US troops in Iraq. Yes, it has something to do with Islam, but the relevant PART is foreign troops (or their culture's influence) INSIDE Islamic territory. Bin Laden doesn't really give a crap about whether the US is secular, or whether they worship the sun god. Why didn't Bin Laden attack China instead of the US if his only problem is secularism inside the US or China? OneGuy 15:30, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I agree, US troops are the central issue, not secularism. Shane King 15:34, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Good argument, although you missed a fundamental point that Al Quaeda follow the teachings of Sayid Qutub who was a vehement Islamist who made a damning report of the US in the 60s which became the foundation for the dogma of Al Quaeda and played a huge part in recruiting terrorists. It's neither one nor the other, but the seeds of Al Quaeda are in the teachings, not just the reaction to occupation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 17 August 2008 (UTC)


The article mentions monotheism but says nothing about millions of people killed and tortured in China or USSR. Nothing about Hindu extremists inside India either. The burning of Muslims in India? The burning of a Christian missionary (including his two sons) in India? How about pagans persecuting Christians earlier on (Christians eaten by lions or crap)? Nothing? OneGuy 16:27, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A good place (and public domain) material for this article would be

And not to just focus on monotheism, see the section on India

OneGuy 13:53, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)[edit]

This article uses the website as either a reference or a link. Please see the discussion on Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/ and Wikipedia:Verifiability/ as to whether Wikipedia should cite the website, jguk 14:09, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


Atheists are also persecuted, by members of religions, especially in america and in the muslim world - how about some content pls! 21:38, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Atheists are presecutors too - please note that Albania was the an officially Atheist state from 1967 to 1991 and during this period Albanian communist regime posecuted thousands of Albanians who wouldn't withdraw from religious practices. Hundreds of clerics were imprisoned, tortured and killed - please see —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Religions have often been persecuted by communist regimes. Atheism has no creed, goal, or mission, so although it is true that atheists have been persecutors, it wouldn't make sense to say that they have persecuted others "in the name of atheism". They have persecuted others in the name of communism. johnpseudo 16:45, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

The Muslims were persecuted by the Christians in the Crusades, yet we still have an article about the persecution of Christians. Why is it ok to forgive the historic crimes of Christians in order to write an article, but not atheists? (talk) 15:55, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Government Persecution[edit]

Governments around the world must still be persecuting certain religions these days. I haven't really been able to find much on which governments and what religions. Help anyone?

This website is a good resource: 00:49, 15 January 2007 (UTC)EMP

Persecuting groups[edit]

Shouldn't the Romans be included for their persecution of Christians? 10:57, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

AfD of interest[edit]

Editors of this page may be interested in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Historical persecution by atheism. Your comments there are welcome.-Andrew c 16:06, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Suggested merge from History Persecution by Christians[edit]

Although the criteria for whether or not persecution is motivated by religion doesn't really fit here, it fits less in the Historical persecution by Christians article. Perhaps this article could be expanded to address the question of whether or not persecution by a religious group is motivated by the religion. johnpseudo 20:17, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I differ. We need more content forking. I'd propose that the section is actually forked out to create a separate article altogether. Till then it can be where it is now. Aditya Kabir 14:40, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Stronly oppose. Which passages of the Bible can be used to support religious persecution and which can be used to support religious toleration is most likely relevant only in a christion context. And the section in debate here is only a list of bible passages and its interpretation. Sometimes only its alleged interpretaion, since sources are missing. -Zara1709 20:17, 13 April 2007 (UTC)


I don't think the holocaust belongs in this article, because it was more of an example of racial persecution or genocide than religious persectuion. Hitler's campaign was motivated by racial ideologies, not religious ones. There is, however, a huge history of religious anti-semitism under Christian regimes that could fit well under here (premodern Europe, for example). 15:42, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

It does belong. Although there were many who were persecuted for racial reasons alone, there were a good number that were there soley for the purpose of religious persecutuion (ie, Jehovah's Witnesses).


Shouldn't the ongoing fight between secularists and Islamists be included?


I see some problems with the lead, which led me to look back for older versions. It seems to me a better version existed earlier here:

Religious persecution is persistent mistreatment of an individual or group by another group due to their religious affiliation. Often it is the persecution of individuals within a group in the struggle to maintain their religious identity, or the abuse of power by an individual or organization that causes members of a religious group to suffer. Persecution in this case may refer to unwarranted arrest, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified execution, denial of benefits, and denial of civil rights and liberties. It also may refer to the confiscation or destruction of property, or incitement to hate among other things.

The current version we have is this:

Religious persecution is systematic mistreatment of a religious group or its members. In a secular state, claims of religious persecution are effectively a demand of the fulfilment of Freedom of religion and Religious pluralism. In a non-secular state, they are laments about the intolerance of the state religion and the demand for Religious toleration or disestablishment.

Often it is the alleged persecution of individuals within a group in the attempt to maintain their religious identity, or the exercise of power by an individual or organization that causes members of a religious group to suffer. Persecution in this case may refer to unwarranted arrest, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified execution, denial of benefits, and denial of civil rights and liberties and especially other acts of violence, such as war, torture, and ethnic cleansing[citation needed].It also may refer to the confiscation or destruction of property, or incitement to hate among other things.

From other discussions, it appears the attempt in the new lead is to include reference to as many other related articles as possible, but I think this is hurting the clarity and accuracy. Per WP:Lead and other guidelines, it seems we should be trying to give the clearest and most accurate information we can, and then link to other articles through templates, etc. That said, I'd suggest returning to the earlier lead. Mackan79 00:55, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good, the original version does look better. -- Jeff3000 06:41, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
I would not actually care much about this article. I'm not an expert on this, although it seems to me that I know more about this than some of those people who advocated the religious persecution template. [This is not meant to be a personal attack.] (I mean, how can you seriously have an article Historical persecution by Christians an not link Thomas Aquinas? He is the 2nd most important theologian of the catholic church and his views on this topic have been described as Logic of Terror.) But let me explain the obvious problem I see with this article: The people who advocated religious persecution could do so because the lacked the the concepts of freedom of religion or religious tolerance. They actually believed that they were doing the right thing. And now take a look at the articles of the religious persecution series and tell me, if you find this point debated at all. This is why I had to link freedom of religion and religious tolerance at the lead here. And I think that this is justified by: Wikipedia:Lead section. This is also why I made some of the edits to 'your' article, Mackan79 I just can't see why you would not want to have a link to secular state in the lead there. I know, that secular state and the principle of secularity of government are different things, but if we don't look that much into details, they are roughly the same. The important distinction here is the one between the view that religious persecution is justified and the view that it is not. Do we have a secular state with religious freedom and the separation of church and state, or do we have a non-secular state which believes that it has the right to enforce it's religion? I really find it disturbing, that people can bring up all these allegations of religious persecution without debating that distinction at all. -Zara1709 08:46, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
The definition of religious persecution that I can base on solid literature is like: "Religious persecution means that a state is committed to achieve religious uniformity by coercive measures." However, the book I keep quoting (because it is otherwise really good) could be more definite on the definition.
I think, the reason why I insist so much on an accurate definition is because there are just too many allegations of religious persecution in these articles. It is obviously a difference if I government does execute people for heresy or if a government imprisons people for allegations of terrorism (even if they are allegations of 'islamic terrorism'). The situation of Muslims in the USA is hardly comparable with situation of Catholics in England in the early 17th century, although in both cases there is phobia involved.
I would not consider anything below an atmosphere of fear of being arrested or being killed by a mob religious persecution. Because such an atmosphere as existed often enough during history, and if you call anything less 'persecution' there is no name left for it. Things like exclusion from offices, denial of worship, fines for not attending church, special taxes as for People of the Book in Islamic countries, prohibition of certain rituals, etc. are discrimination (and wrong too, of course), but not prosecution [should say 'persecution']. -Zara1709 13:04, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I think the way to resolve this, though, is really by what the various sources say. I'm sure we can all argue about what is persecution and what isn't, but if we go by the WP:Reliable sources, then it's much easier (and I think much more helpful). That would mean if an RS calls something persecution, then we represent that view; if someone else disagrees, we represent that as well.
I'm curious which sources say religious persecution is about achieving uniformity, though. Looking at, "persecution" gives me:
  • a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs: the persecutions of Christians by the Romans.
  • oppression for the holding of a belief or opinion
  • punishment or harassment usually of a severe nature on the basis of race, religion, or political opinion in one's country of origin
That seems to include a broader definition. Generally speaking, my concern remains trying to in effect explain religious persecution in the lead, rather than simply informing the very basics on what it is. I think the lead should do the latter, which is why I prefer the older version. Mackan79 18:49, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
You don't explain religious persecution if you say that it "may refer to unwarranted arrest etc." You can expect the reader to have a broad concept of what is meant by 'persecution', i.e. Pogroms, execution, imprisonment etc. What you have to explain here, with such a grim topic, is why religious persecution has happened. Basically, you have to answer that old question: Why is there so much evil in the world? I probably have read to many theologians that I see this problem, whereas most other people obviously don't see it. However, the general question of the origin of evil can't be answered (that is what Augustine of Hippo would have said). But you can answer the question why there was religious persecution during history: Because the ideas of religious toleration and freedom or religion did only find wide acceptance from the 17century onwards. (in an oversimplified version.) This is probably what John Coffey, to whose work I keep referring, would call a "Whig history of toleration", but even he can reassess that. The definition of religious persecution is also taken from that work (as I though would be obvious from my edits).
What effect would have "a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate (convert?) a people because of their religion", if it was successful? Wouldn't it establish a religiously uniformed territory? -So much for that definition. I should have also made clear why to link secular state, religious freedom, religious toleration etc. at the lead. I admit that this could be done better.-Zara1709 20:08, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
WP:OR doesn't allow that, though. You're talking about explaining the crux of what's behind religious persecution in the opening paragraph, as opposed to giving the bare facts on what it is. That doesn't work. You might check out antisemitism; can you imagine if instead of giving the information on what it is, the first paragraph started by trying to give us the fundamental causes? It's also about WP:NPOV; to be neutral, you can't start by giving one theory on what's going on here. You start with the bare essentials, then spread out into various theories and other details below. Mackan79 01:39, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

The lead omits the banning of religious practices, temples, artifacts, books, schools and symbols. The extensive 300-year Christian persecution of pagan religions consisted mainly in these forms of oppression. The persecution resulted in the complete obliteration of the intellectual works--religious and scientific--of the pagan world, including the works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. By the 10th century, there was hardly a book or library left in Europe--outside Ireland and Islamic Spain. That is why Aquinas had to go to Spain to retrieve a text of Aristotle.

The other gap in Wikipedia's treatment of religious violence is bending over backwards to not finger Christian authorities in "triggering" persecution, as if persecution was something incidental and sporadic in Christian history. It was official and, since Augustine, justified in Christian doctrine. And it perdured for centuries, almost until the 20th century.

Wikipedia cannot afford to be seen as whitewashing Christian complicity in this history of persecution, including maintenance of anti-Semitism and slavery. We Christians want to know in detail the record of this history or we will be doomed to repeat it. Bdubay (talk) 18:06, 19 September 2014 (UTC)


The section on Mormons is a flight of fancy. The author should fully cite the sources, or it should be removed entirely.

There, improved it, added references, and wrote it in more professional language. I'm Mormon, though, so could people check it for weasel words I might have left in? Yovinedelcielo 15:58, 10 October 2007 (UTC)


Is there a reason for the neglect of the persecution of Christians under totalitarian secular regimes, such as modern China? The prevalence of the religion and the hatred (and atrocities) against it from varied ideologies is dramatically understated in the article as it stands. 00:33, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

I currently intend to clean up this article , but it don't know when I will get to it. If you are specifically concerned about the situation in China, please consider contributing to Status of religious freedom in the People's Republic of China or Religion in China. Zara1709 14:08, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Country-Specific Issues[edit]

Without going into the detail of the current controversy about the situation in India; I wish people would show some common sense and deal with such topics in the appropriate separate article. Obviously the article on "religious persecution" has to deal with the situation worldwide throughout several thousand years. Of course it is acceptable that certain editors are interested specifically in the situation of Christians and Muslim in India or in the situation of Native Americans in the USA. But please, keep it very brief in this article and deal with those issues in their respective articles. Zara1709 (talk) 15:22, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

South Asia[edit]

Muslims and Christians are not the only people being persecuted. Hindus are being persecuted as well, as are Buddhists in some places. Pretending every new editor is Hkelkar while engaging in censorship is not making the content more encyclopedic. The edits by OC indicate extreme bias, as if [1]persecution of Hindus does not exist. Stating that religious persecution exists and directing readers to articles with an in depth discussion of the issue seems to be the best and most obvious course of action.Bakaman 02:31, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Somewhere in the in the debate on Persecution of Germanic Pagans I think have made clear that I personally considered article names like Persecution of XY, Persecution by XZ to be totally inappropriate. If an editor wants to add material on the situation of Christians and Muslims in India, that is fine, but this belongs to Status of religious freedom in India. And of course there will be other editors who are not interested in the situation of Christians and Muslims, but in the situation of Hindus (to put it this way). Writing an article on a topic that is viewed for such different points of view is one of the challenges of Wikipedia. So, if there aren't any objections I am going to move that section tomorrow. And if necessary I will keep an eye on that article to remind editors there of wp:civil and wp:assume good faith.Zara1709 (talk) 16:55, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

China section[edit]

I removed the paragraph on china in the state atheism section as it was completely unsourced. (talk) 07:25, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Recent persecution of pantheism, pandeism, and deism[edit]

Of late, there is a slate of activity, obviously coordinated, aimed at misrepresenting or humiliating the related disciplines of pantheism, pandeism, and deism

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat's New York Times editorial on the movie Avatar (titled "Heaven and Nature", which is just a naked broadside against Pantheism:

The Na’Vi are saved by the movie’s hero, a turncoat Marine, but they’re also saved by their faith in Eywa, the “All Mother,” described variously as a network of energy and the sum total of every living thing.

If this narrative arc sounds familiar, that’s because pantheism has been Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation now. It’s the truth that Kevin Costner discovered when he went dancing with wolves. It’s the metaphysic woven through Disney cartoons like “The Lion King” and “Pocahontas.” And it’s the dogma of George Lucas’s Jedi, whose mystical Force “surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”

Hollywood keeps returning to these themes because millions of Americans respond favorably to them. From Deepak Chopra to Eckhart Tolle, the “religion and inspiration” section in your local bookstore is crowded with titles pushing a pantheistic message.

....<more of the same snipped>....

Pantheism offers a different sort of solution: a downward exit, an abandonment of our tragic self-consciousness, a re-merger with the natural world our ancestors half-escaped millennia ago.

But except as dust and ashes, Nature cannot take us back.

The similar misrepresentation of Deism in Moralistic therapeutic deism, and conservative blogger Mark Finkelstein attack on Pandeism in the New York Times last year (titled "Happy Pan-Deism Day From Gail Collins"), falsely insists that "Pandeists worship trees and brooks." Now think about that, we are talking about editorials carried in the New York Times. Imagine if someone wrote an editorial similarly virulent against a major theistic faith, Judaism maybe, or Mormonism? They'd get their throat handed to them. But throw out scornful and misinformed bigotry against Pantheism and Pandeism (or, probably, Deism) and you get a pat on the back and nationwide publication. It is also persecution, when the media elites conspire to mock and misrepresent the logic-based nonrevelational faiths. Torquemama007 (talk) 15:00, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Edits and Continuing Issues[edit]

I made a numebr of edits to improve the (terrible) prose throughout this article, as well as to eliminate some stuff that was clearly OR and/or POV. Much can be done to continue to improve this article:

  • More examples of modern persecution. An obviously POV blurb about the Ba'hai is the only example given post-18th Century? That is absurd.
  • Antisemitism ought to be mentioned somewhere. I get the argument that the holocaust was constructed as a racial persecution and not a religious one, but this is fundamentally BS... so much so that is tilts toward a denier/Nazi-apologist standpoint by accepting the Nazi's "racialization" of an ethnically diverse Jewish population living in Germany and occupied countries as biological or ethnographic fact, rather than as an invention of antisemitic/Nazi ideology and propaganda (e.g., many Jews who were killed were, for example, ethnic Germans; characterizing Jews as a homogeneous 'race' is an invention of antisemitic rhetoric).
  • What about the suppression of African religion during the slave trade? There are numerous RSs that describe forcible conversion and persecution of traditional African religion on plantations and in the colonies.
  • What about the active persecution of Native American religion at the hands of the US Government (e.g. as manifest through the boarding school system)? This is also well-documented, and RSs should be available in tons.
  • Many, many more...

I might come back to this soon, but anyone who wants to pitch in is very welcome... DigitalHoodoo (talk) 19:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Elizabethan Persecutions[edit]

These statements regarding Elizabeth I are nonsense:

  • "More than 300 Roman Catholics were put to death by English governments between 1535 and 1681 for treason, thus for secular [rather] than religious offenses."
  • "Mary I had been motivated by a religious zeal to purge heresy from her land, and during her short reign from 1553 to 1558 about 290 Protestants had been burned at the stake for heresy, whereas Elizabeth I of England "acted out of fear for the security of her realm."

Catholics were obliged to attend Protestant services. It was illegal for Catholic priests to say Mass. Priests had to use Priest holes and get sacraments to Catholic in secret. Many martyrs of England and Wales were hung, drawn, and quartered for the "crime" of being Catholic priests. This notion that it was for "security" and "secular" reasons is Anglo-Saxon Protestant nonsense. --ChristianHistory (talk) 05:53, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Christianity, the most persecuted religion in the world[edit]

An IP has added a section about Christianity, from which I have removed a substantial amount of information. I have removed the claim that Muslim apostasy leads to persecution, including death, because it doesn't only concern Christian conversions. I also removed the statement regarding religious persecution in North Korea due to their general anticlerical policies as, again, this concerns every religious affiliation and not just Christianity. I also added templates for citations for the claims that "Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world" and "Many Muslim countries persecute Christians according to Sharia law and the Quran." I'm unsure whether this latter claim refers to nations in which the majority population are Muslims or explicitly Islamic states; this should be clarified when sources are added. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 15:09, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

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