Survey Says: Who Was Michael Servetus?
Michael Servetus was a Spanish theologian, physician, and humanist. He espoused strongly held Unitarian beliefs, bringing upon himself the wrath of John Calvin (and many others) which led to his execution for heresy. Many label Servetus the first Unitarian martyr and his writings influenced those who later founded Unitarian churches in Poland and Transylvania. His belief in the freedom of conscience (which inform the 4th and 5th principles of Unitarian Universalism) created a backlash which led to a new and more humane understanding of the religious in daily life:
Widespread aversion to Servetus’s death has been taken as signaling the birth in Europe of the idea of religious tolerance, a principle now more important to modern Unitarian Universalists than antitrinitarianism. Spanish scholar on Servetus' work, Ángel Alcalá, identified the radical search for truth and the right for freedom of conscience as Servetus' main legacies, rather than his theology. The Polish-American scholar, Marian Hillar, has studied the evolution of freedom of conscience, from Servetus and the Polish Socinians, to John Locke and to Thomas Jefferson and the American Declaration of Independence. According to Hillar: "Historically speaking, Servetus died so that freedom of conscience could become a civil right in modern society." 
Our thanks to those who participated: Erica Baron, Ruth Hinkle, Michael Payne and Eagle UUs (UU Church of Fort Myers Campus Ministry)!
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