front cover of Contraception and Persecution
Contraception and Persecution
Charles E. Rice
St. Augustine's Press, 2014
“Contraceptive sex,” wrote social science researcher Mary Eberstadt in 2012, “is the fundamental social fact of our time.” In this important and pointed book, Charles E. Rice, of the Notre Dame Law School, makes the novel claim that the acceptance of contraception is a prelude to persecution. He makes the striking point that contraception is not essentially about sex. It is a First Commandment issue: Who is God? It was at the Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930 when for the first time a Christian denomination said that contraception could ever be a moral choice. The advent of the Pill in the 1960s made the practice of contraception practically universal. This involved a massive displacement of the Divine Law as a normative measure of conduct, not only on sex but across the board. Nature abhors a vacuum. The State moved in to occupy the place formerly held by God as the ultimate moral Lawgiver. The State put itself on a collision course with religious groups and especially with the Catholic Church, which continues to insist on that traditional teacher. A case in point is the Obama Regime’s Health Care Mandate, coercing employees to provide, contrary to conscience, abortifacients and contraceptives to their employees. The first chapter describes that Mandate, which the Catholic bishops have vowed not to obey. Rice goes on to show that the duty to disobey an unjust law that would compel you to violate the Divine Law does not confer a general right to pick and choose what laws you will obey. The third chapter describes the “main event,” which is the bout to determine whether the United States will conform its law and culture to the homosexual (LGBTQ) lifestyle in all its respects. “The main event is well underway and LGBTQ is well ahead on points.” Professor Rice follows with a clear analysis of the 2013 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. Part II presents some “underlying causes” of the accelerating persecution of the Catholic Church. The four chapter headings in this part outline the picture: The Dictatorship of Relativism; Conscience Redefined; The Constitution: Moral Neutrality; and The Constitution: Still Taken Seriously? The answer to the last question, as you might expect, is: No. Part III, the controversial heart of the book, prese nts contraception as “an unacknowledged cause” of persecution. The first chapter argues that contraception is not just a “Catholic issue.” The next chapter describes the “consequences” of contraception and the treatment of women as objects. The third chapter spells out in detail the reality that contraception is a First Commandment issue and that its displacement of God as the ultimate moral authority opened the door for the State to assume that role, bringing on a persecution of the Church. The last chapter, “A Teaching Untaught,” details the admitted failure of the American Catholic bishops to teach Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. But Rice offers hope that the bishops are now getting their act together Part IV offers as a “response” to the persecution of the Church three remedies: Speak the Truth with clarity and charity; Trust God; and, most important, Pray. As the last sentence in the book puts it: “John Paul II wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops in 1993: ‘America needs much prayer – lest it lose its soul.’” This readable and provocative book is abundantly documented with a detailed index of names and subjects.

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Cultural Genocide
Davidson, Lawrence
Rutgers University Press, 2012

Most scholars of genocide focus on mass murder. Lawrence Davidson, by contrast, explores the murder of culture. He suggests that when people have limited knowledge of the culture outside of their own group, they are unable to accurately assess the alleged threat of others around them. Throughout history, dominant populations have often dealt with these fears through mass murder. However, the shock of the Holocaust now deters today’s great powers from the practice of physical genocide. Majority populations, cognizant of outside pressure and knowing that they should not resort to mass murder, have turned instead to cultural genocide as a “second best” politically determined substitute for physical genocide.

In Cultural Genocide, this theory is applied to events in four settings, two events that preceded the Holocaust and two events that followed it: the destruction of American Indians by uninformed settlers who viewed these natives as inferior and were more intent on removing them from the frontier than annihilating them; the attack on the culture of Eastern European Jews living within Russian-controlled areas before the Holocaust; the Israeli attack on Palestinian culture; and the absorption of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China.

In conclusion, Davidson examines the mechanisms that may be used to combat today’s cultural genocide as well as the contemporary social and political forces at work that must be overcome in the process.


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Global Visions of Violence
Agency and Persecution in World Christianity
Jason Bruner
Rutgers University Press, 2023
In Global Visions of Violence, the editors and contributors argue that violence creates a lens, bridge, and method for interdisciplinary collaboration that examines Christianity worldwide in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. By analyzing the myriad ways violence, persecution, and suffering impact Christians and the imagination of Christian identity globally, this interdisciplinary volume integrates the perspectives of ethicists, historians, anthropologists, and ethnographers to generate new conversations. Taken together, the chapters in this book challenge scholarship on Christian growth that has not accounted for violence while analyzing persecution narratives that can wield data toward partisan ends.  This allows Global Visions of Violence to push urgent conversations forward, giving voice to projects that illuminate wide and often hidden landscapes that have been shaped by global visions of violence, and seeking solutions that end violence and turn toward the pursuit of justice, peace, and human rights among suffering Christians. 

front cover of Glorious in Persecution
Glorious in Persecution
Joseph Smith, American Prophet, 1839-1844
Martha S. Bradley-Evans
Signature Books, 2016

Escaping imprisonment in Missouri in 1839, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith quickly settled with family and followers on the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Under Smith’s direction, the small village of Commerce soon mushroomed into the boomtown of Nauvoo, home to 12,000 and more members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Smith, Nauvoo was the new epicenter of the Mormon universe: the gathering place for Latter-day Saints worldwide; the location of a modern-day Zion; the stage upon which his esoteric teachings, including plural marriage and secret temple ceremonies, played out; and the locus of a theocracy whose legal underpinnings would be condemned by outsiders as an attack on American pluralism.

In Nauvoo, Smith created a proto-utopian society built upon continuing revelation; established a civil government that blurred the lines among executive, legislative, and legal branches; introduced doctrines that promised glimpses of heaven on earth; centralized secular and spiritual authority in fiercely loyal groups of men and women; insulated himself against legal harassment through creative interpretations of Nauvoo’s founding charter; embarked upon a daring run at the U.S. presidency; and pursued a vendetta against dissidents that lead eventually to his violent death in 1844.

The common thread running through the final years of Smith’s tumultuous life, according to prize-winning historian and biographer, Martha Bradley-Evans, is his story of prophethood and persecution. Smith’s repeated battles with the forces of evil–past controversies transformed into mythic narratives of triumphant as well as present skirmishes with courts, politicians, and apostates–informed Smith’s construction of self and chronicle of innocent suffering.

“Joseph found religious and apocalyptic significance in every offense and persecution–actual or imagined,” writes Bradley-Evans, “and wove these slights into his prophet-narrative. Insults became badges of honor, confirmation that his life was playing out on a mythic stage of opposition. By the time Joseph led his people to Illinois, he had lived with the adulation of followers and the vilification of enemies for more than a decade. Joseph’s worst challenges often proved to be his greatest triumphs. He forged devotion through disaster, faith through depression. Joseph interpreted each new event as God’s will set against manifestations of evil opposed to the restoration of all things.”

Bradley-Evan’s ground-breaking portrait of Smith goes farther than any previous biography in explaining the Mormon prophet and the mystery of his appeal.


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A History of the Vandals
Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen
Westholme Publishing, 2012

The First General History in English of the Germanic People Who Sacked Rome in the Fifth Century AD and Established a Kingdom in North Africa

The fifth century AD was a time of great changes in the Mediterranean world. In the early 400s, the Roman Empire ranged from the lowlands of Scotland to the Upper Nile and from Portugal to the Caucasus. It was almost at its widest extent, and although ruled by two emperors—one in the West and one in the East—it was still a single empire. One hundred years later, Roman control of Western Europe and Western North Africa had been lost. In its place, a number of Germanic kingdoms had been established in these regions, with hundreds of thousands of Germanic and other peoples settling permanently inside the former borders of the Western Roman Empire.

            One of the most fascinating of these tribes of late antiquity were the Vandals, who over a period of six hundred years had migrated from the woodland regions of Scandinavia across Europe and ended in the deserts of North Africa. In A History of the Vandals, the first general account in English covering the entire story of the Vandals from their emergence to the end of their kingdom, historian Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen pieces together what we know about the Vandals, sifting fact from fiction. In the middle of the fifth century the Vandals, who professed Arianism, a form of Christianity considered heretical by the Roman emperor, created the first permanent Germanic successor state in the West and were one of the deciding factors in the downfall of the Western Roman Empire. Later Christian historians described their sack of Rome in 455 and their vehement persecution of Catholics in their kingdom, accounts that were sensationalized and gave birth to the term “vandalism.”

            In the mid-sixth century, the Vandals and their North African kingdom were the first target of Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s ambitious plan to reconquer the lost territories of the fallen Western Empire. In less than four months, what had been considered one of the strongest Germanic kingdoms had been defeated by a small Roman army led by the general Belisarius. Despite later rebellions, this was the end of the Germanic presence in North Africa, and in many ways the end of the Arian heresy of Christianity. For the Romans it was the incredibly successful start of the reconquest of the lost lands of the Western Empire.

front cover of The Huguenot Experience of Persecution and Exile
The Huguenot Experience of Persecution and Exile
Three Women’s Stories
Charlotte Arbaleste Duplessis-Mornay, Anne de Chaufepié, and Anne Marguerite Petit Du Noyer
Iter Press, 2019
This volume provides an English translation of firsthand testimonies by three early modern French women. It illustrates the Huguenot experience of persecution and exile during the bloodiest times in the history of Protestantism: the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the dragonnades, and the Huguenot exodus following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The selections given here feature these women’s experiences of escape, the effects of religious strife on their families, and their reliance on other women amid the terrors of war.

Edited by Colette H. Winn. Translated by Lauren King and Colette H. Winn
The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series, Vol. 68

front cover of Imagining Persecution
Imagining Persecution
Why American Christians Believe There Is a Global War against Their Faith
Jason Bruner
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Many American Christians have come to understand their relationship to other Christian denominations and traditions through the lens of religious persecution. This book provides a historical account of these developments, showing the global, theological, and political changes that made it possible for contemporary Christians to claim that there is a global war on Christians. This book, however, does not advocate on behalf of particular repressed Christian communities, nor does it argue for the genuineness (or lack thereof) of certain Christians’ claims of persecution. Instead, this book is the first to examine the idea that there is a “global war on Christians” and its analytical implications. It does so by giving a concise history of the categories (like “martyrs”), evidence (statistics and metrics), and theologies that have come together to produce a global Christian imagination premised upon the notion of shared suffering for one’s faith. The purpose in doing so is not to deny certain instances of suffering or death; rather, it is to reflect upon the consequences for thinking about religious violence and Christianity worldwide using terms such as a “global war on Christians.”

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The Jews in Mussolini's Italy
From Equality to Persecution
Michele Sarfatti; Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006
      Often overshadowed by the persecution of Jews in Germany, the treatment of Jews in fascist Italy comes into sharp focus in this volume by Italian historian Michele Sarfatti. Using thorough and careful statistical evidence to document how the Italian social climate changed from relatively just to irredeemably prejudicial, Sarfatti begins with a history of Italian Jews in the decades before fascism—when Jews were fully integrated into Italian national life—and provides a deft and comprehensive history from fascism’s rise in 1922 to its defeat in 1945. 
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

front cover of Patience and Salvation in Third Century North Africa
Patience and Salvation in Third Century North Africa
A Christian Latin Reader
Sarah Wear
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
Patience and Salvation in Third Century North Africa: A Christian Latin Reader features the entirety of Tertullian’s To Martyrs and The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity, with selections from Cyprian’s On the Good of Patience and a short appendix on Augustine’s Commentary on Psalm 121.6. The Latin text has facing vocabulary and theological, historical, philosophical, and grammatical notes. In the first three centuries, Roman Carthage produced some of the earliest literature composed originally in Latin by Christians. Tertullian’s Ad Martyras (197); Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis (203), and Cyprian’s De Bono Patientiae (256) all embody the force of this new genre of Latin literature. With this literature, we see a variant of Latin often denoted “Christian Latin.” Christian Latin featured linguistic elements marked by characteristics of biblical Latin, later Latin, as well as vulgarisms. In addition to converging philologically, Tertullian, the author of the Passio, and Cyprian align themselves in topos: they all ask the question of how one can endure torment and anxiety in this world. Patience (patientia), derived from the verb for “to suffer” (patior), is a virtue that allows one to endure troubles, anxieties, and physical pains with the hope of eternal happiness and salvation in heaven. In this Reader, the student will find three different literary perspectives on this theme. The book also draws parallels to the works of Seneca and Cicero on patience and suffering.

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Persecution and Rescue
The Politics of the “Final Solution” in France, 1940-1944
Wolfgang Seibel
University of Michigan Press, 2016
In 1942, two years after invading France, the Germans implemented their policy of exterminating the Jews. In contrast to Jews in many parts of German-occupied Europe, however, the majority of Jews in France survived, thanks to opposition to the Nazi extermination policy from Church dignitaries and the moral indignation of the average Frenchmen. Seeking to maintain popular support, the Vichy Regime bargained with the Germans over the substance and extent of its collaboration, which the Germans needed in order to hold France.

Drawing on German and French sources, Wolfgang Seibel traces the twisted process of political decision-making that shaped the fate of the Jews in German-occupied France during World War II. By analyzing the German-French negotiations, he reveals the underlying logic as well as the actual course of the bargaining process as both the Vichy Regime and the Germans sought a stable relationship. Yet that relationship was continually reshaped by the progress of the war, Germany’s deteriorating prospects, France’s economic and geopolitical position, and the Vichy government’s quest for domestic political support. The Jews’ suffering intensified when the Germans had the upper hand; but when the French felt empowered, the Vichy Regime stopped collaborating in the completion of the “final solution.” Persecution and Rescue: The Politics of the “Final Solution” in France, 1940–1944 demonstrates the ways in which political circumstances can mitigate—or foster—mass crime.


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Persecution and the Art of Writing
Leo Strauss
University of Chicago Press, 1988
The essays collected in Persecution and the Art of Writing all deal with one problem—the relation between philosophy and politics. Here, Strauss sets forth the thesis that many philosophers, especially political philosophers, have reacted to the threat of persecution by disguising their most controversial and heterodox ideas.

front cover of The Persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands, 1940-1945
The Persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands, 1940-1945
Edited and with an Introduction by Wichert ten Have
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
This important study surveys recent Dutch research into persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands during World War II, addressing the political, public, and private responses to National Socialism and the aftermath of the Final Solution. The authors discuss a wide range of issues, including the role of the Dutch state apparatus in the success of the persecution; popular perception of the Jews in Dutch culture of the time; a comparison of the treatment of Jews in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France; and the regime in charge of the Dutch transit to concentration camps.  With contributions from eminent historians of the Holocaust, this book draws on personal accounts and diaries to analyze the response among the Dutch population to the escalating persecution of the Dutch Jewish community, effectively contrasting the perspectives of the victims, the perpetrators, and the bystanders. 

front cover of Persecution, Plague, and Fire
Persecution, Plague, and Fire
Fugitive Histories of the Stage in Early Modern England
Ellen MacKay
University of Chicago Press, 2011

The theater of early modern England was a disastrous affair. The scant record of its performance demonstrates as much, for what we tend to remember today of the Shakespearean stage and its history are landmark moments of dissolution: the burning down of the Globe, the forced closure of playhouses during outbreaks of the plague, and the abolition of the theater by its Cromwellian opponents.


 Persecution, Plague, and Fire is a study of these catastrophes and the theory of performance they convey. Ellen MacKay argues that the various disasters that afflicted the English theater during its golden age were no accident but the promised end of a practice built on disappearance and erasure—a kind of fatal performance that left nothing behind but its self-effacing poetics. Bringing together dramatic theory, performance studies, and theatrical, religious, and cultural history, MacKay reveals the period’s radical take on the history and the future of the stage to show just how critical the relation was between early modern English theater and its public.


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Propaganda and Persecution
Renée Poznanski
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
Renée Poznanski’s magisterial history of the French Resistance during World War II offers a comprehensive exploration of the most significant issue in that period’s social imaginary: the “Jewish question.” With extraordinary nuance, she analyzes the discourse around Jews and Judaism that pervaded the Resistance’s propaganda and debates, while closely examining the fate of Jews under Vichy and after. 

Poznanski argues that Jews in France suffered a double persecution: one led by the Vichy government, the other imposed by the Nazis. Marginalization and exclusion soon led to internment and deportation to terrifying places. Meanwhile, a propaganda war developed between the Resistance and the official voice of Vichy. Poznanski draws on a breathtaking array of sources, especially clandestine publications and French-language BBC transmissions, to show how the Resistance both fought and accommodated the deeply entrenched antisemitism within French society. Her close readings of propaganda texts against public opinions probe ambiguities and silences in Resistance writing about the persecution of the Jews and, in parallel, the numerous and detailed denunciations that could be read in the Jewish clandestine press. This extensive synthesis extends to the post-Liberation period, during which the ongoing persecution of Jews in Europe and North Africa would be portrayed as secondary to the suffering of the nation.

The winner of the 2009 Henri Hertz Prize by the Chancellerie des Universités de Paris, Sorbonne, Propaganda and Persecution makes major contributions to the study of the Resistance and of antisemitism. Lenn J. Schramm’s English translation brings Poznanski’s dynamic prose to life.

front cover of Religious Intolerance, America, and the World
Religious Intolerance, America, and the World
A History of Forgetting and Remembering
John Corrigan
University of Chicago Press, 2020
As the news shows us every day, contemporary American culture and politics are rife with people who demonize their enemies by projecting their own failings and flaws onto them. But this is no recent development. Rather, as John Corrigan argues here, it’s an expression of a trauma endemic to America’s history, particularly involving our long domestic record of religious conflict and violence.

Religious Intolerance, America, and the World spans from Christian colonists’ intolerance of Native Americans and the role of religion in the new republic’s foreign-policy crises to Cold War witch hunts and the persecution complexes that entangle Christians and Muslims today. Corrigan reveals how US churches and institutions have continuously campaigned against intolerance overseas even as they’ve abetted or performed it at home. This selective condemnation of intolerance, he shows, created a legacy of foreign policy interventions promoting religious freedom and human rights that was not reflected within America’s own borders. This timely, captivating book forces America to confront its claims of exceptionalism based on religious liberty—and perhaps begin to break the grotesque cycle of projection and oppression.

front cover of Signs, Cures, and Witchery
Signs, Cures, and Witchery
German Appalachian Folklore
Gerald C. Milnes
University of Tennessee Press, 2007

Signs, Cures, & Witchery  provides a fascinating glimpse of some little-known Appalachian beliefs and practices among descendants of early German pioneers. Signs, Cures and Witchery opens a window into our ancient past, revealing the courage and resourcefulness of people whose survival depended on their ability to "read signs," cure their own ills, and find explanations for life's mysteries. Local community practices in West Virginia such as witch doctoring, "belsnickling," "shanghai," and folk healing are connected to their medieval counterparts in woodcuts and other works of art. In tracing immigration to remote mountain communities, we learn how expressions of folk art and folk belief survive. This work specifically examines aspects of Appalachian oral tradition and folklore that draw from German culture. Informative and entertaining, Signs, Cures, and Witchery  is an invaluable aid to all who have an interest in religion, psychology, folklore, metaphysical, regional, gender, and ethnic studies.


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The Thirty-Year Genocide
Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894–1924
Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi
Harvard University Press, 2019

A Financial Times Book of the Year
A Foreign Affairs Book of the Year
A Spectator Book of the Year

“A landmark contribution to the study of these epochal events.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Brilliantly researched and written…casts a careful eye upon the ghastly events that took place in the final decades of the Ottoman empire, when its rulers decided to annihilate their Christian subjects…Hitler and the Nazis gleaned lessons from this genocide that they then applied to their own efforts to extirpate Jews.”
—Jacob Heilbrun, The Spectator

Between 1894 and 1924, three waves of violence swept across Anatolia, targeting the region’s Christian minorities. By 1924, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, once nearly a quarter of the population, had been reduced to 2 percent. Most historians have treated these waves as distinct, isolated events, and successive Turkish governments presented them as an unfortunate sequence of accidents. The Thirty-Year Genocide is the first account to show that all three were actually part of a single, continuing, and intentional effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population. Despite the dramatic swing from the Islamizing autocracy of the sultan to the secularizing republicanism of the post–World War I period, the nation’s annihilationist policies were remarkably constant, with continual recourse to premeditated mass killing, homicidal deportation, forced conversion, and mass rape. And one thing more was a constant: the rallying cry of jihad. While not justified under the teachings of Islam, the killing of two million Christians was effected through the calculated exhortation of the Turks to create a pure Muslim nation.

“A subtle diagnosis of why, at particular moments over a span of three decades, Ottoman rulers and their successors unleashed torrents of suffering.”
—Bruce Clark, New York Times Book Review


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Ways of Lying
Dissimulation, Persecution and Conformity in Early Modern Europe
Perez Zagorin
Harvard University Press, 1990

The religious persecution and intellectual intolerance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries compelled many heterodox groups and thinkers to resort to misdirection, hidden meaning, secrecy, and deceit. In this highly unusual interpretation, Perez Zagorin traces the theory and practice of religious leaders, philosophers, intellectuals, and men of letters who used deception to cloak dissident beliefs.

Zagorin surveys some of the chief sources of early modern doctrines of dissimulation in the Bible and the works of theologians from Jerome andAugustine to Erasmus, Luther, and Calvin. Subjects covered include Nicodemism, the name given by Calvin to secret Protestants who concealed their faith behind a facade of conformity to Catholic worship; crypto-Judaism in Spain; and the hidden beliefs of English Catholics. Other topics include the Catholic doctrine of mental reservation; the place of dissimulation in English Protestant casuistry; occultism; and dissimulation of religious unbelief among philosophers and men of letters. In charting the widespread phenomenon of lying and deceit and by exploring its evolutions, Perez Zagorin has made an important contribution to the historiography of an intellectually roiling and perilous time. He adds a vital dimension to our understanding of the religious, intellectual, and cultural history of the epoch before the modern. Lacey Baldwin Smith finds this hook “an impressive and scholarly work of cultural synthesis that coins a fresh label for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: the age of dissimulation. Zagorin’s efforts to compare and contrast Catholic and Protestant styles of dissimulation and Nicodemism are important, casting a new perspective and focus on the religious and intellectual dissent of the era.”


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