Religious Intolerance in America

A Documentary History

Edited by John Corrigan, Lynn S. Neal

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 illus., appends., notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7118-8
    Published: May 2010
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-9595-5
    Published: May 2010

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American narratives often celebrate the nation's rich heritage of religious freedom. There is, however, a less told and often ignored part of the story: the ways that intolerance and cultures of hate have manifested themselves within American religious history and culture.

In the first ever documentary survey of religious intolerance from the colonial era to the present, volume editors John Corrigan and Lynn S. Neal define religious intolerance and explore its history and manifestations, including hate speech, discrimination, incarceration, expulsion, and violence. Organized thematically, the volume combines the editors' discussion with more than 150 striking primary texts and pictures that document intolerance toward a variety of religious traditions. Moving from anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan propaganda to mob attacks on Mormons, the lynching of Leo Frank, the kidnapping of "cult" members, and many other episodes, the volume concludes with a chapter addressing the changing face of religious intolerance in the twenty-first century, with examples of how the problem continues to this day.

About the Authors

John Corrigan is the Lucius Moody Bristol Distinguished Professor at Florida State University, where he chairs the religion department. He is author or editor of many books on American religious history and coeditor of the journal Church History.
For more information about John Corrigan, visit the Author Page.

Lynn S. Neal is assistant professor of religious studies at Wake Forest University and author of Romancing God: Evangelical Women and Inspirational Fiction (UNC Press).
For more information about Lynn S. Neal, visit the Author Page.


“Vibrantly illustrates the sometimes conspicuous, but more often insidious ways, in which religious intolerance has shaped American life. . . . A unique and essential volume.”--Journal of Southern Religion

"A welcome corrective to traditional tales of religious accommodation."--Choice

“Corrigan and Neal define religious intolerance and explore its history and manifestations.”--American Catholic Studies Newsletter

"When we describe our country as welcoming to all peoples and religions, we downplay the history and reality of intolerance. This volume makes a significant contribution through the juxtaposition of the mythic aspects of American history--its virtues and the notion of 'American exceptionalism'--against the everyday realities of religious intolerance. The editors' nuanced presentation of this paradox is fresh and creative, and will touch chords in readers' experiences."--Wade Clark Roof, author of Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion

"This volume demonstrates the ubiquity of bigotry, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness among a surprisingly wide-ranging portion of the American population from the colonial period right up to the present. The editors' introductions to the cases and documents serve as means for instructors to drive home the rudiments of religion, such as orthodoxy, heresy, and apostasy. In addition, the book's organization provides an unexpectedly useful review of the important dimensions of our country's religious history."--Jan Shipps, author of Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons