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Religious Tolerance logo


Religious laws and violence


Mass crimes against humanity & genocide


bullet "The death of one man is a tragedy; The death of a million is a statistic." This is commonly attributed to Joseph Stalin, although there is no real evidence that he ever said it.
bullet"Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god." Jean Rostand.
bullet"People don't simply wake up one day and commit genocide. They start by setting themselves apart from others, diminishing the stature of those adhering to dissenting beliefs in small, insidious steps. They begin by saying, 'We're the righteous, and we'll tolerate those others.' And as the toleration diminishes over time, the inevitable harms are overlooked. It is for that reason that James Madison wisely wrote that 'it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties'." Michael Newdow 1

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A individual's greatest enemy appears to be their own national government. One source estimates that "Nearly 170 million people probably have been murdered by governments in this [20th] century; over four-times those killed in combat in all international and domestic wars during the same years." 3

Mass murder and genocide in recent years have involved:

bulletThe execution of individuals who have simply decided to change their religion,

bulletMass murder of followers of a minority religion by members of a dominant religion,

bullet Mass murder of followers of one faith group by others who belong to the same religion.

bulletMass murder and genocide of an identifiable group for a variety of reasons.

It appears that:

bullet The persecution and mass murder of European Jews by Christians from 306 to 1945 CE was the longest lasting mass crime against humanity, culminating with the genocide by Nazis during World War II.
bullet The mass murder by the communist government of the USSR of 20 or more million of its citizens  (1917 to 1987), and by the communist government of China of about 35 million of its citizens  (1949 to 1987) probably involved the greatest loss of life. It is difficult to be certain because accurate data is impossible to obtain. Governments normally do not publish figures for the number of their citizens that they exterminate.
bullet It appears that Christians are more often martyred in recent years because of their faith than followers of any other religion. Murders of Christians peaked at about 160,000 during the year 2000. This was about one Christian murdered every five minutes. A major effect of these killings is the decimation of Christian communities in the Middle East as many of them attempt to emigrate to other countries where they can life free of threats to their lives. By early 2019, murders of Christians because of religion had dropped to about 4,000 a year. 6

One of the main motivations for the creation of the United Nations in 1945 was to prevent future mass crimes against humanity and genocides. In this role, the UN has not done well. Since 2010, governments continue committing or allowing mass crimes against humanity including the victimization of:

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Topics covered in this section are:

bullet star Definitions of genocide. Genocide conventions

bulletGenocide Convention Implementation Act: The U.S. Proxmire Act

bulletGenocide-lite: the term "Ethnic cleansing"
bulletAbout genocide:
bulletEvents leading to genocide


Discouraging future genocides by holding perpetrators responsible

bulletPreventing future genocides through government action
bulletPast persecutions, crimes against humanity and genocides -- primarily religiously based

bullet A brief list of some genocides in biblical and modern times: Part 1  Part 2

bulletGenocide during biblical times

bulletPagan and Christian persecution of Jews 70 CE to now

Description of genocides from 1450 to 1903 CE

bullet star Slavery in the U.S. (1607 to 1865)

bulletChristian persecution of "Satan worshipers" and other heretics 1450 to 1792 CE

bulletAgainst Native Americans

star Description of genocides from 1904 to 1945 including the Armenian Genocide and Nazi Holocaust.


Description of genocides from 1946 until now

bulletThe most serious crimes against humanity and genocides of the 20th century:

bulletGenocide in the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium
bulletThe Nazi genocide / Shoah / Devouring:
bulletAdmission of governments' complicity in the Nazi Holocaust

bulletAnti-semitism and the Catholic church

bulletFinancial compensation for Nazi slave laborers

bullet2006 conference in Iran of Nazi Holocaust deniers

bulletAn anti-Muslim hoax Email about the teaching of the Holocaust
bulletCurrently active and recent mass murders, potential genocides, and genocides:

bulletAgainst aboriginals

bulletIn the Sudan

bulletIn Chechnya

bulletin Papua

bulletIn North Korea

bulletProposed genocidal law In Uganda

Related essays at this website:

bullet The 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
bullet Human rights defined, denied and restored: State sovereignty vs. individual human rights.
bullet Currently active civil disturbances and wars with a religious component.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Michael Newdow, "Judge Roy Moore Deserves Jail. How is this in any way different from David Koresh's refusal to abide by the commands of the federal agents in Waco?,", 2003-AUG, at:"
  2. Genocide," at:
  3. "20th Century Democide," at: 
  4. Raphael Lemkin, "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe," (1944), Page 79.
  5. "Uganda passes draconian anti-gay law," Genocide Watch, 2014-JUN-25, at:
  6. Lindy Lowry, "11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Decision to Follow Jesus," Open Doors, 2019-MAR-13, at:

Site navigation: Home page > Laws & religion >  here

or: Home page > Religious violence >  here

Copyright © 2001 to 2019by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-JAN-1, at the beginning of a new millennium
Latest update: 2019-JUN-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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