Whatever the nature of their admission, we’ll kill’em for sheer stubbornness!

For the moment this is the line I have taken with all persons brought before me on the charge of being Christians. I have asked them in person if they are Christians, and if they admit it, I repeat the question a second and a third time, with a warning of the punishment awaiting them. If they persist, I order them to be led away for execution; for whatever the nature of their admission, I am convinced that their stubbornness and unshakable obstinacy ought not to go unpunished.

– Pliny the Younger in a letter to Emperor Trajan,
as cited in Letters of Note: "A degenerative sort of cult".


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One response to “Whatever the nature of their admission, we’ll kill’em for sheer stubbornness!”

  1. Loki says :

    That said and giggled, there is a maybe surprising attempt at tolerance, fairness and practicality seeping through both this letter and Trajan’s response, considering the topic is religious persecution: “But pamphlets circulated anonymously must play no part in any accusation. They create the worst sort of precedent and are quite out of keeping with the spirit of our age.”
    And “in the case of anyone who denies that he is a Christian, and makes it clear that he is not by offering prayers to our gods, he is to be pardoned as a result of his repentance however suspect his past conduct may be.”

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