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Of persecutions

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Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire
Image: Ann Taylor-Hughes

The church stands near the beautiful old moated manor, which sheltered persecuted priests.

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Image: Prichardson /Wiki

Inside the hall, 16th century Catholic fugitives from religious persecution "could slide down a rope from the first floor through the old garderobe shaft into the house's former sewers, which run the length of the building". It must have been an exit they avoided if they could. They were forced to take it in 1591.

The Greek word martyr means witness-bearer, and entered English in the 16th century to describe religious persecution, particularly death by fire. Tragically, so-called Christians martyred other Christians who upheld the truth "written in their hearts" – I have the right to worship God freely, as I choose.

The courage of both Catholics and Protestants achieved freedom of religious conscience in Britain and convinced Brits that they loathed religious fanaticism.

Recently we've all heard of killings in Northern Ireland that seemed to recall old horrors. However, I have never thought of this quarrel as particularly religious though Protestants have stood on one side and Catholics on the other. Rather it seemed to me that the bloodshed was spilled by those who wanted a united Ireland and those who did not. Today terror has been unleashed by adherents of a religion not native to Britain's shores, as The Imam's Daughter reveals in a chronicle of violence and hope. She places her hope in Christ's teachings of love and forgiveness.

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