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Religious Tolerance in Colonial Mexico


By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, Professor Kevin Gosner discusses the history of religious intolerance in Colonial Mexico,

UU Service
“Religious Tolerance in Colonial Mexico”
With Kevin Grose
Sun, Mar 27, 10:30am
Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15

Spanish rule in Latin America does not enjoy a reputation for religious tolerance. After all, this history began with the destruction of indigenous temples and the burning of sacred books and continued with the trials and tortures of the Inquisition, the persecution of suspected Jews, and the violent suppression of African spirituality. Yet missionary friars also were influenced by Catholic humanism, and their authority was constrained by the vast geography of the empire and the practical necessity of delegating much of the work of the Church to the laity. Did these conditions nurture a theology of religious tolerance? Professor Gosner explores the challenges of answering this provocative question.

Kevin Gosner is Associate Professor of Latin American History at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Soldiers of the Virgin: the Moral Economy of a Colonial Maya Rebellion and has written widely on the impact of Spanish rule on community life, religion, and local economies in southern Mexico and Guatemala. His book is a study of the Tzeltal Revolt of 1712 in highland Chiapas, a project that also led to an essay, “Women, Rebellion, and the Moral Economy of Maya Peasants in Colonial Mexico.” More recently, he has been studying the colonial cotton economy, the mobilization of Maya labor (especially women), and the participation of entrepreneurial-minded native elites.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at the La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15 and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for coffee and snacks afterword. The room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


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