23 March 2006


The Martyr's Memorial on Magdalen Street commemorates the burning at the stake of Hugh Latimer, Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley in the 1550s. Queen Mary had them executed (along with some 300 other Protestants) for refusing to submit to the authority of the Pope. That is, in England, 450 years ago, the penalty for heresy was death.

Why is it then, that only one of the world's major religions has been left behind in the Middle Ages? In one of the supposedly "democratic" Muslim nations, "liberated from tyrrany" by Americans, it is evidently a capital crime to convert to Christianity. I mean, how is it possible that there are still places where this happens? Historians out there: What happened (or, more likely, failed to happen) in the Islamic world that prevented it from joining the rest of humanity beyond the age of martyrs?

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