What a lot of people probably don’t realize is that the Inquisition was about a lot more than just rooting out Protestants.  The Church lumped a large variety of “crimes” under the umbrella term “heresy.”  People accused of being witches, devil worshipers, and werewolves were deemed to be heretics.  Gay people (“sodomites”) and scientists who questioned official Church doctrine were also heretics, even if they were otherwise good and faithful Catholics.

Now here’s a fun fact — in England and British colonies (including those in America), the same logic was applied to the Witch Trials, but instead of lumping everyone under the umbrella term “heresy,” those found guilty of witchcraft, devil worship, being a werewolf, and sodomy were deemed guilty of treason against the Crown.  Here’s how the logic worked: first off, understand that after Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church, he formed the Church of England, with himself as the head.  Therefore, anyone who remained Catholic was deemed a traitor, because s/he had “sworn allegiance to a foreign prince,” that is, the Pope, in defiance of their true King.  It may sound silly to us today, but that was the thinking at the time.  And since the Anglican Church inherited much of its baggage from the Catholic Church, all the sins the Catholics deemed “heresy” were lumped by the English in with Catholicism.  The thinking was that these “crimes” were committed by people trying to undermine the King’s authority at the behest of the Pope.  So if you were a witch, a werewolf, or gay, you were in league with the Pope, and therefore Catholic, and further therefore, a traitor to your King and country.  Catholic countries burned heretics, while the English hanged or beheaded traitors.  That’s why not a single victim of the New England Witch Trials was burned at the stake.  Instead, they were hanged (or in the case of one unfortunate victim, pressed to death with heavy weights during torture).

And now you know more about that unfortunate period of history than you ever wanted.