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And under this new decree, the executions certainly did not
slacken. Men in the highest and the humblest positions were daily and
hourly dragged to the stake. Alva, in a single letter to Phillip, coolly
estimated the number of executions which were to take place immediately
after the expiration of holy week, at “eight hundred heads.” Many a
citizen, convicted of a hundred thousand florins and of no other crime, saw
himself suddenly tied to a horse’s tail, with his hands fastened behind him,
and so dragged to the gallows. But although wealth was an unpardonable
sin, poverty proved rarely a protection. Reasons sufficient could always be
found for dooming the starveling labourer as well as the opulent burgher.
To avoid the disturbances created in the streets by the frequent harangues
or exhortations addressed to the bystanders by the victims on the way to
the scaffold, a new gag was invented. The tongue of each prisoner was
screwed into an iron ring, and then seared with a hot iron. The swelling
and inflammation which were the immediate result, prevented the tongue from slipping through the ring, and of course effectually precluded all
possibility of speech.


Only a decade earlier Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain,
recommended that “all [Netherlanders] who remained obstinate in their errors were
burned alive, and those who were admitted to penitence were beheaded.”

So even the
penitent were not to be spared.
The above list catalogs individuals once regarded by the Catholic Church as the
most notorious of heretics and by Unitarian Christians as the greatest of martyrs to the
revival of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Some of the Unitarians mentioned above were
associated with movements of such significance as to have swept across countries, but in
all cases the Trinitarian Church eventually dominated through the combination of
superior force, inferior tolerance, and willingness to sacrifice fellow man to the cause of
religious purification.
Although they use the same book for guidance, Unitarian and Trinitarian
Christianity could hardly differ more in their methodology. Trinitarian Christianity
condemns anything that conflicts with derived doctrine, whereas Unitarian Christianity
condemns anything that conflicts with scriptural evidence. The conflict between these
two standards lies at the heart of the debate. The church succeeded in killing off
dissenting individuals, but failed to suppress the thoughts and fierce passions they
expressed. Far greater success would have been achieved had the church provided
rational and conclusive rebuttal to the challenges, and established their authority through intellectual superiority rather than through tyranny. However, church history documents
nearly two millennia of failure to overthrow the arguments of the Unitarians, much to the discredit of the Trinitarians.



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