Demonizing Dissenters: Patterns of Propaganda and Persecution
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One of the challenges facing the medieval church was increasing non-conformity and its more serious manifestations as definite heresy. The heretic suffered abuse from the official church as well as at the hands of other heretics. In Hussite Bohemia, breakaway heretics from the mainstream of Hussite dissent, called Adamites or Pikarts, became the target of violent repression. Jan Žižka took steps to enforce Hussite orthodoxy by liquidating the Adamites, persecuting Martin Húska, and cracking down on Eucharistic and other irregularities in religious practice. Campaigns of propaganda undergirded the efforts to demonize and discredit the “other.” Late medieval Bohemia provides a context within which to observe the principle that dissent is rarely permitted amongst dissenters and the frequent practice of attaining power by means of persecution.