Religion: No More Heresy

When Christians first began spreading their strange new doctrines in 1st century Jerusalem, Rabbi Gamaliel urged the Jews to be lenient and to avoid accusing them of heresy. If the new sect was doing God's will, he reasoned, men could not stop them (Acts 5:34). When Christians held power in the Middle Ages, they often ignored this common-sense approach. Heresy became an all-too-common crime punishable by all-too-painful penalties.

The Roman Catholic Church has long since abandoned cruel punishments for heresy. Since the Second Vatican Council it has also been developing an even more liberal policy. Last week the Sacred Congregation for...

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