Christopher Bond

How Trump's comments on Muslims fit into the country's history of religious demagoguery

How Trump's comments on Muslims fit into the country's history of religious demagoguery

One night in 1834, renowned Presbyterian minister Lyman Beecher delivered a sermon in Boston railing against the "despotic character and hostile designs of popery upon our country."

Not far away that night, a mob stormed an Ursuline Sisters convent and burned it to the ground.

It was never proved that the sermon incited the attack. Still, Lynn S. Neal, a religion professor at Wake Forest University, maintains that Beecher's caustic rhetoric contributed to the violence by "weaponizing" the prevailing anti-Catholic bias.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States has evoked comparisons to...

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