religiously-motivated political strife
paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu
Wed Aug 3 15:08:48 PDT 2005
I agree with Doug that there was more than I set out. His correction is
Douglas Laycock wrote:
> More bad stuff went on the in the 19th and 20th centuries than Paul's
> posting may imply, although the executions and tortures that he
> describes in the 17th & 19th centuries were not repeated so far as I
> There was much private and some public violence against the Mormons,
> and after the Civil War an organized campaign by federal and
> territorial governments to suppress polygamy at whatever cost to
> religious liberty -- criminal prosecutions of church leaders, test
> oaths to prevent Mormons from voting (upheld in Davis v. Beason, a
> decision implicitly overruled in Torcaso v. Watkins, but which
> supports of Smith still seem to rely on), and forfeiture of the
> church's corporate charter and seizure of most of its property.
> Protestant-Catholic conflict, principally over Protestant religious
> instruction in the public schools, flared off and on for a century
> from the 1820s, with occasional mob violence, church burnings, and
> people dead in the streets. Catholic children were whipped for
> refusing to read the King James Bible, and there is at least one
> reported acquittal of a teacher who administered such a whipping.
> Private violence against Jehovah's Witnesses in the 30s and 40s,
> especially after Gobitis upheld the flag salute requirement in 1940.
> At the same time, an sustained effort by local governments to suppress
> proselytizing by Witnesses, with many ingenious and facially neutral
> ordinances enacted to get them. Most of these ordinances were struck
> down in nearly two dozen Supreme Court decisions from the late 30s to
> the early 50s.
> There are many accounts of these episodes, a few comprehensive,
> most dealing with one small piece of the story.
> Douglas Laycock
> University of Texas Law School
> 727 E. Dean Keeton St.
> Austin, TX 78705
> 512-232-1341 (phone)
> 512-471-6988 (fax)
> From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
> [mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Paul Finkelman
> Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 4:43 PM
> To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
> Subject: Re: religiously-motivated political strife
> I assume Kevin is interested in pre-1787 religious strife that the
> framers knew about and wanted to avoid repeating. Without offering a
> full history, here are some "greatest hits of religious strife"
> In 1657, Stuyvesant refused to allow a boatload of Quakers to land in
> New Amsterdam. This was the beginning of the longest and most brutal
> religious suppression in the colony's history. Over the next six
> years, officials jailed, expelled, fined, placed at hard labor, and
> tortured numerous Quakers for preaching in the colony. Non-Quakers
> were also jailed and fined for aiding or harboring Quakers. <!--[if
> !supportEndnotes]--> In 1657 Dutch authorities in New Netherlands
> tortured the Quaker Robert Hodgson in a variety of ways, including
> dragging him behind a horse cart, placing him in a vermin filled
> dungeon, and severely whipping him and "chaining him to a wheelbarrow
> in the hot sun until he collapsed." He was later hung by his hands in
> a prison cell and "whipped until he was near death." After two days
> in solitary confinement, he was again whipped until near death.
> Hodgson's ordeal ended when Stuyvesant's own sister convinced him to
> release Hodgson from prison and expel him from the country. He had
> earlier tried to expell Jews and Lutherans from the colony
> Mass. Bay Colony hanged 4 Quakers -- 2 men and later 2 women -- for
> returning to the colony after they were expelled and preaching.
> Earlier Mass. Bay colony expelled Roger Williams for his heresies (be
> later founded the Baptist Church) as well as Anne Hutchinson for hers.
> Massacusetts colony executed 19 people for witchcracft, pressed one
> man to death for refusing the plead to the indictment and sent
> hundreds to jail (where some died) and also hanged two dogs for
> witchcraft, all of which were religious crimes
> About 19 others were executed in various colonies for witchcraft.
> Plymouth Colony, imposing Biblical Law, hanged Thomas Granger for
> beastiality after first killing all the animals he had had sex with
> (they symbolically killed 3 wild turkeys to atone for the turkey he
> had sex with).
> The Md. "Toleration Act" allowed for the execution of Jews and anyone
> else who did not accept the divinity of Jesus; one Jew was sentenced
> to death but commuted to expulsion.
> Virginia savagely mistreated Baptists in the 1770s and 1780s; jailing
> and whipping Baptist ministers.
> While there was some religious persecuation after the colonial period,
> it died down a great deal and certainly the Free
> Exercise/Anti-Establishment tradition (even if it was not legally
> applicable the states, helped create much greater religious tolerance,
> despite persecution of Mormons in the 1830s and 1840s, some Catholic
> persecution in the 1830s, and the lynching of Leo Frank by a mob in
> 1915 (I think that is the right date).
> You can find citations for these events and further discussions in the
> following places:
> Paul Finkelman, The Ten Commandments on the Courthouse Lawn and
> Elsewhere, 73 Fordham L. Rev. 1477-1520 (2005).
> Paul Finkelman, Religious Liberty and the Quincentennary: Old World
> Intolerance, New World Realities, and Modern Implications," 7 St.
> Johns J. Legal Comm. 523 (1992).
> Paul Finkelman, RELIGION AND AMERICAN LAW: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA (Garland,
>>> My question will perhaps reveal more about my ignorance of American
>>> history than I ought to disclose but my question is as follows:
>>> Various Supreme Court justices have argued that one of the
>>> motivations of the establishment clause is the prevention of
>>> religiously-motivated political strife. See, e.g., Justice Souter's
>>> dissenting opinions in Mitchell and Zelman. However, the only
>>> references to strife one sees in the opinions are to 17th century
>>> Europe and to the divisiveness of founding era state-supported
>>> My question then is what events, if any, would list members point to
>>> as examples of religiously-motivated strife in the American
>>> context--this to head off someone who might like Justice Stevens in
>>> Zelman point to conflicts in "the Balkans, Northern Ireland, and the
>>> Middle East." 19th century school funding conflicts?
>>> Kevin Pybas
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>> Prof. Steven D. Jamar vox: 202-806-8017
>> Howard University School of Law fax: 202-806-8567
>> 2900 Van Ness Street NW mailto:sjamar at law.howard.edu
>> Washington, DC 20008 http://www.law.howard.edu/faculty/pages/jamar/
>> "Example is always more efficacious than precept."
>> Samuel Johnson, 1759
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>Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law
>University of Tulsa College of Law
>3120 East 4th Place
>Tulsa, OK 74105
>Paul-Finkelman at utulsa.edu
>To post, send message to Religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu
>To subscribe, unsubscribe, change options, or get password, see http://lists.ucla.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/religionlaw
>Please note that messages sent to this large list cannot be viewed as private. Anyone can subscribe to the list and read messages that are posted; people can read the Web archives; and list members can (rightly or wrongly) forward the messages to others.
Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Tulsa College of Law
3120 East 4th Place
Tulsa, OK 74105
Paul-Finkelman at utulsa.edu
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