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Religious Tolerance

In the story, we are not sure if Brown’s adventure is real or imagined but if real the message is one that paints intolerance the real evil. It is this kind of intolerance that Mather and many Puritans maintained, one that posited a monopoly on virtue and/or goodness. Because of believing they were somehow superior or more moral than others, Mather and others had little compunction in destroying Indians, torturing those of other faiths, or accusing individuals of being witches and then burning them. Despite such violent acts of intolerance, Mather (1950) defined the people of New England as “a people of God” (9).

Arthur Miller (1959) likened the fanatical religious intolerance of 17th century New England with the 1950s McCarthy hearings in a play chronicling the witch hunts of Salem Massachusetts, The Crucible. In contemporary America, civil law and the Constitution are kept separate from religion. Religious authority plays an inferior role to civil authority and is not considered in the eyes of the law. However, men like McCarthy still try to use the superior moral stance of men like Mather when they wish to persecute others. In McCarthy’s case, this imposed superiority painted those who were Communists as the “evil other” much like Mather painted those accused of being witches. In The Crucible, the common sense and honesty of men and women like John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse prove to be no match for the fanaticism of Goody Putnam and Abigail. In Salem, common sense did not prevail as it almost did not during the McCarthy “witch-hunts.” Some refer to Waco, Texas, as a modern day witch-hunt against a religious sect known as the Branch Davidians. In one of the bloodiest raids on U.S. citizens by the government, more than ninety people belonging to the cult and four federal agents were killed in the showdown at the cult’s quarters in Waco. However, despite conspiracy theories, the leader of the group, Davi...

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Religious Tolerance. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:39, July 21, 2017, from
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