PROTESTANT THEORY OF PERSECUTION 157
The Protestant authorities throughout Southern Ger- many were perplexed by their victory over the Anabap- tists. It was not easy to show that their political tenets were revolutionary, and the only subversive portion of their doctrine was that they held, with the Catholics, that the State is not responsible for religion. 1 They were punished, therefore, because they taught that no man ought to suffer for his faith. At N uremberg the magistrates did not know how to proceed against them. They seemed no worse than the Catholics, whom there was no question at that time of exterminating. The celebrated Osiander deemed these scruples inconsistent. The Papists, he said, ought also to be suppressed; and so long as this was not done, it was impossible to pro- ceed to extremities against the Anabaptists, \vho were no worse than they. Luther also was consulted, and he decided that they ought not to be punished unless they refused to conform at the command of the Government. 2 The Margrave of Brandenburg was also advised by the divines that a heretic who could not be converted out of Scripture might be condemned; but that in his sentence nothing should be said about heresy, but only about sedition and murderous intent, though he should be guilt- less of these. 8 With the aid of this artifice great numbers were put to death. Luther's proud and ardent spirit despised such pre- tences. He had cast off all reserve, and spoke his mind openly on the rights and duties of the State to\vards the Church and the people. H is first step was to proclaim 1 "Wir lehren die christlieb Obrigkeit möge nicht nur, sondern solIe auch sich der Religion und Glaubenssacben mit Ernst annehmen; davon halten die Wiedertäufer steif das \Viderspiel, we1cbes sie auch zum Theil gemein hahen mit den Prälaten der römischen Kirche" (DecIaration of the Protestants, quoted in ]örg, Deutschland von 1522 bis 1526, p, 709). 2 "As to your question, how they are to be punished, I do not consider them blasphemers, but regard them in the light of the Turks, or deluded Christians, whom the civil power bas not to punish, at least bodily, But if they refuse to acknowledge and to obey the civil authority, then they forfeit all they have and are, for then sedition and murder are certainly in their hearts" (De Wette, ii. 622; Osiander's opinion in J örg, p. 706), 3 II Dass in dem Urtheil und desselben öffentlicher Verkündigung keines Irrtbums oder Ketzereien , . , sondern allein der Aufruhr und fürgenornmenen Morderei, die ibm doch laut seiner Urgicht nie lieb gewesen, gedacht werde" (Jörg, p. 708).